Charli XCX: "What's your favorite idea?! Mine is being creative!"
Me: "How do ya get the idea?"
Charli XCX: "I just try to think C R E A T I V E L Y."
So Charli XCX finally came together with another studio album (her first in 5 years), and re-invents her pop sound with the PC music influences she explored with her recent mixtapes and EPs. Needless to say, Charli is a good album! I really enjoyed some of the inventive pop styles on here, I liked Charli's creative performance, most of the features are quite solid and it's easy to sit through! It's a pop album I was anticipating and really wanted to enjoy to the fullest...
...and yet, I didn't. It's a good album FOR SURE, but my god is it a mess, (sigh).
I wouldn't call myself a big fan of the PC Music style. It's definitely fascinating, but not always my cup of tea. With Charli XCX, I found myself really enjoying the mixtapes and EPs she dropped over the past few years and liked the style she was rooting for. The PC music sound definitely suited her well and the result were some really enjoyable projects I find myself returning to. Not great projects and I've never been a big fan of Charli XCX, but enjoyable bangers nonetheless.
Fast forward to 2019, and Charli is about to drop! The singles themselves were very hit-or-miss, and it seemed like this album was going to be a giant mixed-bag that's not very focused. Obviously, I didn't expect it to be completely off-the-wall or mindblowing, but I was expecting some very nice futuristic pop bangers (as the cover may suggest).
Charli definitely has its spectacular moments! Gone and Cross You Out work well as individual tracks and side-to-side on the album. Gone, in particular, is absolutely stunning! I definitely loved the chemistry between Charli and HAIM on Warm. The production and PC influence can be gimmicky at times, but it's not to the point that it's irritating. Generally, the features worked really well for a pop album its size. Apart from the forgettable performance from Lizzo, me not being a fan of Troye Sivan and the questionable feautre line-up on the twerk-anthem Shake It, the rest definitely have their place on the album!
In many ways, this was a particularly interesting project. Would definitely return to a handful of tracks, but as an album, it could've been more consistent. Much, much more consistent. At points, it can range from gorgeously stunning to hilariously tacky and even obnoxious. Most of it isn't necessarily because of Charli or the guest features. It's more because of the sound. The production, while mainly solid, can be a chore to sit through.
I get that as a studio album, Charli aimed to be a lot more appealing to a larger demographic. There's nothing wrong with an album playing it a bit safer, but in return, the weirder, abstract, more intense sounds are a lot less satisfying than in her recent mixtapes. It's toned-down and cluttered, not really for a good reason. I think Charli does fall a bit short in terms of an interesting sound/concept.
Great ideas, messy execution.
FAV TRACKS: Gone, Cross You Out, Warm, White Mercedes, Official, Thoughts
LEAST FAV TRACKS: Blame It On Your Love, Next Level Charli