Charli XCX: Charli review: inching closer to her pop masterpiece

Fri, Sep 6, 2019, 05:00



Charli XCX

Asylum/Atlantic UK


In the dying days of the original social network MySpace, aspiring British pop performer Charlotte Emma Aitchison posted some demos on the platform that launched Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen. A decade later, she has become one of the most revered new stars of the modern era in the wake of a 2014 number one with Iggy Azalea. 

Charli is her third album and an ambitious collection of collaborations with some heavy hitters including Héloïse Letissier (aka Christine & The Queens, who made a surprise appearance at XCX’s rapturously received Electric Picnic show last weekend), Haim and Sky Ferreira.

Charli XCX and Christine & the Queens - Gone

It is an accomplished and brilliantly produced album, but not quite heavy enough in grade A tropical house pop bangers such as the irresistible Blame It on Your Love with Lizzo, which is the most anthemic track she’s done yet. There’s plenty of light and shade, as the closing moments of Click feature some thoroughly pleasant blasts of noise, while White Mercedes is a fantastic power ballad. 

However, much of Charli lacks the singular sparkle of Shura or Billie Eilish, but she is still one of the better and more proficient modern pop stars on the planet, and is getting ever closer to nailing her pop masterpiece.