The irrefutable world of Charli XCX – The Suffolk Journal
Over the past five years, Charli XCX has proven herself to be one of the most consistent pop artists of our time with the albums “Pop 2”, “Charli” and “How I Feel Now”. Her work made her something of a Lady Gaga of the late 2010s: a demanding, self-righteous and impossible-to-ignore performer.
On her seventh album, Charli enters her “sellout” era, as she told NPRembracing what it means to be a pop giant in the 2020s, releasing “CRASH,” an album that turns the eccentricity of “how I feel now” and “Pop 2” into its most digestible and explosive yet.
Prior to release, Charli entering an era of “selling,” maliciously or not, intrigued me, questioning my confidence in what “CRASH” might bring to the table.
When the popstar was on the podcast “How Long Has Been” last September, my bewilderment grew when she commented on what she was looking for in an artist.
“When I think of artists, it’s their personality and the world they create,” she told hosts Chris Black and Jason Stewart. “I care more about their marketing campaigns than their music.”
Although after careful consideration, it is perhaps the most progressive she has been in her entire career.
In fact, it may be that Charli’s take on the industry is tinged with realism, an approach that, while unorthodox for an artist, is justified and perhaps more productive than I think.
In a world where the separation of capitalism and music is impossible, hiding from the marketing ploys of superiors can mitigate no harm. On “CRASH,” Charli makes the most of it.
“CRASH” is brimming with ego, a trait that can make or break an album, and luckily for us, ego seems extremely flattering on Charli.
On “New Shapes,” Charli insists, “What you want, / I don’t have it,” which just might be the perfect mantra for anyone who wants to be as bulletproof as she is.
At its peak, this record becomes a testament to what it really means to love yourself and demand control of the room, while using its energy to define the power of which it is capable.
For Charli, energy is everything. This becomes evident on “CRASH” as Charli’s vitality is marked on every track, making it extremely difficult to turn down what she has to offer.
That’s not to say that Charli is simply immortal throughout the record.
On “Beg For You”, she cries for her partner to stay in line “You know I go crazy every time you have to catch a flight.” On the beautifully weakened “Lightning,” Charli screams in grief as she sings, “You hit me like lightning/My stupid heart can’t fight it/So tell me what you want and I’ll give it to you.” Its lyrics emphasize chaotic, unstable and, most importantly, believable grief.
That said, it’s not the same chaos heard about “how I feel now,” his masterclass of super popwhich was notably designed when the lockdown started in 2020.
On “How I Feel Now” there was an idea that Charli was rightfully crowning herself the Empress of Hyperprop, bringing her underground family into the mainstream once and for all. Her presence was that of a passion project not only for herself but for the whole scene, who could never have imagined that such an eccentric sound could ever find a place outside the message boards.
On “CRASH,” the production of AG Cook, who with the help of the late SOPHIE brought Charli into the world of hyperpop, is only featured twice, a departure from his heavy involvement in “how I feel now”.
Although “CRASH” further proves that progression is what suits him best, as Charli’s knack for pushing ideas forward is more present than ever on this album, which features a collection of tracks that show off the glorious mayhem that Charli brings to the table.
Telling Charli to stick to one sound is like telling a dog to stop barking for food. She doesn’t stop until she gets what she wants.
Again, after listening to “CRASH”, it’s clear that she doesn’t bark for what she wants, she barks for what she deserves..
If “CRASH” is Charli selling, then no one has ever sold as high as her.
On this record, Charli is more fired up than ever, driven by her success, and propelling herself down the mainstream pop path she’s been aiming for for a long time.
Sold or not, Charli continues to push the envelope with “CRASH,” her biggest record to date and, more importantly, a love letter to her own worth.