How We're Feeling About Charlie XCX's New Album Release
As we finish our 8th week of quarantine, it is inevitable that some of us at home have taken it upon ourselves to attempt to make good use of our self-isolation by investing time and effort into personal passion projects. For some it may be baking or sewing and for electropop princess Charli XCX this involved releasing an entire album.
'How I'm Feeling Now' is a gripping insight into Charli's thoughts, a playful perspective of her life in quarantine. Sonically espousing the new wave of PC music, the album is packed from start to finish with hyper-electronic, sometimes confusing beats and robotic vocals, which is admittedly shocking and off-putting to a virgin listener. However, Charli's loyal following of internet-twinks seem to be intoxicated by the seeming messiness of the songs, songs like 'Click' from her 2019 album 'Charli' have become fan favourites and almost folklore in the young gay clubbing scene, with the song itself being sampled on this album, on possibly the most PC track on the album, 'c2.0'. Charli's approach to her music, highlighted in this album, shows her championing PC music and embracing it in its entirety. This unapologetically electronic attitude has opened the door for many other artists to embrace this sound including Kim Petras, Slayyyter and Dorian Electra; thus, creating a distinctive, niche sound adopted almost entirely by young LGBTQ+ listeners.
The lead single, "Forever" is a sonic explosion of electronic excellence and possibly best showcases the essence of Charli's distinguished music style. The surprisingly catchy hook and soft verses are engulfed in an overwhelming, harsh whirlwind of unfamiliar noises. The track, like many other on the album, feels as though its mocking pop music by taking a generically good pop song and metamorphosising it into an undistinguishable yet surprisingly captivating reincarnation. This can also be seen in the dreamier, 'Detonate' and euphoric, 'Visions'.
My two personal favourites from the album, 'Claws' and 'Pink Diamond', possibly both perfectly exemplify the puzzling excellence of Charli's music. 'Pink Diamond' is filled to the brim with uber-confidence and sass with Charli speak-singing "I just wanna go real hard. I just wanna go real hard" on repeat to a stirring background of computerized noises. although at some points the disorderly beat can leave the listener lost, the songs' chao somehow makes it all the more stimulating to the listener. 'Claws', arguably the best song on the album, is purely and wholeheartedly a playful, refreshing interpretation of PC music. the chorus and verses seamlessly flow together in a melodic, excessively computerized blend of catchy, mesmerising pop music goodness. Definitely a potential hit and is currently as we speak, the song garnering the most streams out of all three singles.
Possibly the most impressive thing about 'How I'm Feeling Right Now' is how it manages to bridge the gap between experimental and generic pop music in such a unique way it is almost unexplainable. It is a talent that Charli has managed to harness to create a solid body of work, one that helps her to continue to establish herself as a musical pioneer and a queer icon simultaneously.
Words by Joe Gardner
Graphics by Georgia Walters