It’s insane that this is a quarantine project because tbh this is better than any other Charli XCX album aside from her one from last year. This is one of the few quarantine projects that are up there with the artists’ main albums. I mean, at least in terms of quality. In terms of the actual music, this record is wildly different and much more experimental than anything Charli has done in the past.
While Charli has made experimental music before with her futuristic blend of a standard pop formula and forward-thinking, almost robotic autotuned vocals, plus she has made some tracks that I would legitimately call crazy experimental bangers like Vroom Vroom or Click just to name a few, Charli has never made a record that is front to back as experimental as this is. I mean, to deduce this all you have to do is listen to the first track on this thing: pink diamond. The tracks instrumental is already screaming in your ear with its pulsating groove the moment the track starts which are accompanied by Charli’s repetitive chants of wanting to go real hard which are repeated throughout the entire track. The track only gets more experimental and abrasive as it goes on to the point where there are moments here with the instrumental that, as much as I hate to say it and think the comparison sounds kinda pretentious, remind me of Death Grips. Charli has never experimented so hard that it reminds me of fucking Death Grips. This extra level of experimentation and artistic freedom that the project has is what makes it seem less like Charli B-Sides and more like a complete experience, a thing a lot of quarantine projects have been lacking.
There’s a lot of repetition going on with the lyrics across this record. However, it doesn’t necessarily feel like Charli isn’t trying when creating these lines, nor do the lines feel repetitive. These lines sound more like Charli is trying to hammer a catchy phrase into our mind and get it stuck in our heads; and boy does she do that. Tracks like pink diamond, forever, claws, enemy, and visions rank among the catchiest tracks of the year. Charli’s singing is usually much more drenched in autotune and left-field across this project than it usually is, though it isn’t unrecognizable from the Charli we’ve heard on previous projects. It creates this uniquely psychedelic sound that is unlike anything Charli has done before. The project overall has this fun and cute vibe that's incredibly infectious. However, even with all the praise I’m giving this record, it does have a few flaws that make me enjoy it less than Charli. There are some songs that lack the insane experimentation that other songs have, making them kinda feel like Charli B-Sides, primarily on the track i finally understand. There are other ones where I feel like the experimentalism doesn’t really pay off and instead creates a somewhat annoying or messy sound, like on party 4 u and ESPECIALLY c2.0, which is near unlistenable. The annoying pitch-shifted vocals and Charli's weak melodies make the track a super annoying listen. Still, even if how i’m feeling now isn’t as good as Charli, how i’m feeling now is EASILY one of the best quarantine projects I’ve heard yet and I definitely hope Charli can refine this much more experimental sound alongside bringing her sound from a project like Charli on future projects to create a pop masterpiece.
FAV TRACKS: pink diamond, forever, claws, 7 years (feat. BJ Burton), detonate, enemy, anthems, visions
LEAST FAV TRACK: c2.0