ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Charli by Charli XCX (September 2019)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Next Level Charli; Gone (with Christine and the Queens); Cross You Out (ft Sky Ferreira); 1999 (with Troye Sivan); Click (ft Kim Petras and Tommy Cash); Warm (ft Haim); Thoughts; Blame It On Your Love (ft Lizzo); White Mercedes; Silver Cross; I Don’t Wanna Know; Official; Shake It (ft Big Freedia, Cupcakke,Brooke Candy & Pabilo Vittar); February 2017 (ft Clairo & Yaeji); 2099 (ft Troye Sivan)

Charli XCX is arguably best known for a song she wrote for Icona Pop (I Love It was a UK chart topper and a US top 10 in 2012) and a feature with co-write on Iggy Azalea’s US number 1 Fancy two years later.

  • Read on for reasons including Christine and the Queens, HAIM, Lizzo and Troye Sivan

Perhaps then it is no surprise that her third album features quite so many collaborations yet pulls off the unlikely trick of making a diverse range of contributors sound quite so generic.

XCX is still co-writing charttoppers it’s just that she’s still not singing them, Señorita by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello reached the top spot this year in countries including the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Back in 2015 we shortlisted XCX’s Brighton Concorde 2 concert as gig of the year saying: ‘The first night of Ms XCX’s debut full UK tour found its perfect home at our favourite Brighton venue. This 600-capacity seafront setting proves size is no indication of monstagigz. Charlotte Aitchison, 24 next year, was launching second album Sucker and had written three of the biggest international hits of recent years, I Love It (above), Boom Clap and Fancy.’

For us the youthful punkish spirit of Sucker was much more to our taste than the two mixtapes which followed in 2017 and this mix of confessional lyrics to an EDM template that feels very now but less inspiring than it should.

XCX is Charlotte Aitchison who turned 27 in August and arrived at 14 in the UK album charts last week with this album.

Album highlights include the infectious dance floor beats of single 1999 with Troye Sivan on which they both sound like they’re having fun being nostalgic about the time when Britney was having her first hit and, though this is an album where the lyrics rarely make an impression, we were touched by Sivan’s: ‘I know those days are over but a boy can fantasise … and when I close my eyes, I’m right there and he’s right there.’

Blame It On Your Love featuring Lizzo is immediately singled out by the latter’s infectious cackle and the parping horns combined with catchy handclaps make it must-hear. Warm is a departure for featured artists HAIM and is arguably the biggest earworm of many here.

Christine and the Queens (see above) is probably the biggest name here and, while we think this is exactly the sort of experiment Chris should be making at this point in her career, it’s a song that sits well in this collection rather than distinguishes itself.

We join XCX at an O2 Brixton Academy gig in October which forms part of a US and European tour to 28/11/19 promote this album which is underway now. Tickets

We think XCX’s one of pop’s finest writers at the moment but, while Charli has its highs, it’s not the creative explosion its originator seems destined to spark at some point soon.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Charli XCX. Tickets
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email neildurham3@gmail.com and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

 

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