Home Read Charli XCX | Charli

Charli XCX | Charli

The pop futurist continues to blur the line between mainstream & underground.

332

WHO IS SHE? British pop futurist Charlotte Aitchison, who has notched hits like Boom Clap, Doing It and Break the Rules — when she isn’t writing or guesting on chart-toppers for fellow stars like Iggy Azalea, Selena Gomez, Icona Pop, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello.

WHAT IS THIS? Her self-titled third collection of can’t-miss radio singles, club bangers and introspective ballads — and a disc that more or less follows in the stylistic footprints of her 2014 sophomore release Sucker.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Dance-pop that once again blurs the line between the mainstream and the underground. Over the course of 15 songs and 50 minutes, Charli delivers all the infectious grooves and hooks you expect — but also includes edgier sonics, more adventurous arrangements and sharper lyrics than most of her contemporaries. Speaking of, the star-studded set features cameos by Christine and the Queens, Sky Ferreira, Troye Sivan, Haim, Lizzo, Big Freedia, Cupcakke and plenty more.

WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Charli III. Or perhaps Kinda Young, Kinda Now, Kinda Free, Kinda Wow.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? With some focus — Charli’s cuts are usually aimed above the neck as well as below the belt.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Ambitious, experimental, catchy, intriguing, revealing, electronic, vulnerable, flashy, romantic, fun-loving.

WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST SONGS? The glitchy Click; the retro celebration 1999; the ominous and molasses-paced Cross You Out with Ferreira; the upbeat Lizzo collaboration Blame it On Your Love; the oscillating synth workout Thoughts; the ribald, big bass bouncer Shake It.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘If you have to listen to pop music, there are way worse options than this.’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? Given that she dropped seven singles from the disc before its release, you’ve probably already heard most of it.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE FURNITURE, WHAT KIND OF FURNITURE WOULD IT BE? An angular, ultra-modern designer chair that manages to be both hip and pretty comfortable at the same time.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? If you’ve dug the singles so far, the rest is up to snuff. If not, stick to the stream.