Looks like the hyperpop car has finally run out of fuel.
Now, I’m not going to pretend that I’ve been Charli’s biggest stan since her 2013 debut “True Romance,” as that’s just not the case. In fact, I hadn’t even heard a single track from her since yesterday, when I decided to do a little bit of homework and gave both 2019’s Charli and 2020’s how i’m feeling now a spin. While I was especially impressed with the latter’s incredible back to back consistency, I still greatly appreciated both of the album’s experimentation as well as the insane energy that never lets up throughout both the project’s tracklists, hence her label of “hyperpop.” All that being said though, I think listening to those two albums was one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made in music.
Let me explain. When I review an album, I try to take all biases out of the equation, and just take the music that the artist is giving us in a vacuum, separate from all of my past expectations and experiences with the artist. That means ignoring everything I know about the artist as a person, good or bad (unless they obnoxiously hammer all of the awful shit they’ve done into their lyrics, like 6ix9ine) and most of all, forgetting all of their past releases and giving them a chance to do something new with their sound.
Unfortunately though, sometimes biases get the best of me and I can’t help but let them affect my listening enjoyment, such as the case with Charli XCX’s newest album “Crash.”
Following an onslaught of incredibly polarizing singles, Charli’s seventh studio album finally crashes into all of our spotify pages, although despite the cover art depicting a violent, windows smashed car accident, it feels more like a minor fender bender in the Stop & Shop parking lot then anything. I don’t want to say that Charli sold out, but… this album is weak. It’s not bad, I’d even go as far as to say that it’s pretty decent, with it featuring catchy hooks galore, but c'mon, this is Charli fucking XCX we’re talking about. Sweet, bubbly synths and generic, inoffensive melodies isn’t what made her previous music so exciting. In all of her past works, you could feel so much creativity and enthusiasm bubbling from every sound, and that combined with the constant willingness to experiment and doing something new and unpredictable was what made them so damn great. However, on Crash, with the exception of the opening title track, as soon as you hear the first few notes to each song, you know exactly where it’s going, with her making very little attempts to throw in anything interesting or surprising to keep the song from devolving into a boring, generic pop track.
Now, I’m sure judging by my score, you could probably infer that I didn’t hate this album, and yeah, you’d be right, so let’s switch gears for a bit and focus on some of the positive aspects of this album. As I’ve said already, this album does contain some super earwormy choruses, although the ones that stick out the most to me are definitely Constant Repeat (that “you could’ve had a bad girl by your side” refrain is just too damn catchy to resist) and Beg For You, with it’s pretty vocals and smooth, nice melody on the hook backed up by what is by far the best production on the album. New Shapes is also really fun.
The flow is also really good from front to back, with no song really overstaying its welcome, and I can also appreciate how the lyrics on most of the tracks are able to be sexy without crossing the line into just being cringe, which is definitely a difficult tightrope to walk for albums like this.
Unfortunately, those are really the only positives that come to mind, as the rest of the album just feels generic and boring. Luckily, it rarely ever sinks to being just plain awful, although the track “Used To Know Me” does get pretty damn close, with a dance beat that sounds like it was produced by a 12 year old who just discovered pro tools for his upcoming Roblox song. However, especially in the latter half of the record, it sits pretty comfortably in the generic pop album territory, and while that’s totally excusable for you’re Katy Perrys and you’re Shawn Mendeses, it’s unfortunately pretty unforgivable for someone so boundary pushing and risk-taking in the pop spectrum. Am I being unfair? Yes, yes I am. Let her make whatever album she wants and not be influenced by any dumbass nitpicky critics on the internet (like me!) If this kind of music is what makes her happy, then continue making it. That’s why I said that listening to her previous works before going into this new one was such a big mistake, as it completely butchered what would have otherwise been a totally passable pop album for me. But yeah- nonetheless I’m pretty disappointed with this one.
Didn't make me horny/10. Shit album.