Charli XCX album review

Daniel Klepp '20, Op/Ed Manager

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“Charli” is the latest full-length project and third studio album from British pop futurist Charli XCX. For many people, Charli came onto the scene through her feature on the less-than stellar single, Fancy, with Iggy Azalea. However, since then, she has been able to diversify her style and themes, and has amassed a cult-like following.

At the beginning of her career, much of her discography was borderline unlistenable, albums like “SUCKER” and “ True Romance” absolutely fall flat and should’ve been a bad omen for the rest of her career. Despite this, Charli has been able to improve her vocals and aesthetics in order to procure an album  worth listening to.

A lot of her growth has been through embracing her bubble-gum style bass and post-pop absurdity. She has been able to push her brand by stylistically separating herself from contemporaries such as  Rita Ora and Tove Lo.

Unfortunately, “Charli” is littered from top to bottom with features that fall short of the mark. Contributions from Troye Sivan and Lizzo don’t reach the high bar that Charli set for  them. She would have been better off with a featureless album, which would have allowed more of her electrifying vocals and personality to come through.  

The album starts off with a bang, “Next Level Charli”, that is both an excellent opening and stand-alone track. It combines spacy, auto tuned vocals with mellow synths that compare to sounds of the 80s. 

Other standout tracks include “White Mercedes” and “Silver Cross”. “White Mercedes” is emotionally vulnerable and sonically stellar, it flips the trope of being too good for a significant other, rather Charli expresses feelings of inferiority. “Silver Cross” immediately follows in the footsteps of “Next Level Charli” with a similar feel and sound to the track. This section is easily the highlight of the album, listening to the two back to back is an ethereal experience.

“Charli” functions as a stepping stone in Charli XCX’s career. It is dripping in maturity and growth as an artist. 8/10.

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