Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Charli XCX: True Romance

Okie dokie.  So besides the fact that it's raining and thundering like a MUTHA outside, there's really nothing much going on chez moi.  Therefore, we're going to get right to it with a discussion of the indomitable debut artist Charli XCX, for whom no introduction would be complete without this sentence from her Wikipedia page: "In an interview with Idol Magazine, Charli revealed that she wanted her stage name to stand for "Xrated Cunt Xrated", but the label would not allow this".  Personally, I'm guessing that they advocated for "Xylophone Cyclops Xerox" instead, but that's just me.  Either way, I'm going to spend a whole other paragraph talking about her before I get to her music.

So what else is there to know about Miss Charli, you ask?  Ah, where to begin!  Well, other information her Wikipedia page provides includes her birthday (August 2, 1992), her birthplace (Hertfordshire), and the fact that she "wrote and featured on Icona Pop's song "I Love It", which became a breakthrough hit for both artists, reaching the top 10 in numerous countries and serving as the theme song for Snooki & JWoww".  Then there's the whole interview circuit, where I learned that she used to call her genre "dark pop" but now classifies it as "angel pop" (from Pretty Much Amazing), and that "Every song on this record is about love, whether it be falling in love, having a childish breakup, a complete obsession or one night of crazy lust. There’s a lot of heart imagery, ocean imagery, stars and galaxies and all of these beautiful things I think about when I think of love" (from Idolator).  Oh, and there's pretty much the entirety of this interview on Noisey, where I learned that Posh is her favorite Spice Girl, she digs picking her nose, and she's "not down with the Brown" (as in Chris).  Finally, to leave you with the same beautiful image that I now have in my mind, she also tells Noisey, "I’ve just noticed that I’m fingering this My Little Pony’s bumhole while I’m talking to you."  You're welcome.

And now it's time to talk about the album.  Honestly, I think that you can determine everything you need to know from the information already provided, including her wardrobe on the cover of the album, the movie shout-out title, the dark-angel-love-ocean theme, and her obvious desire to shock, but I'll give you more details anyway.  First, close your eyes.  Now, think '80s Madonna + goth electronica + swear words, and you can pretty much guess what this album sounds like (incidentally, the only similar artist I can come up with is Estonian pop princess Kerli - let me know if you can do better).  And although I found virtually every song on this album to clock in at the exact same level of goodness, I picked a few examples anyway.  For instance, "Stay Away" begins with a thunderous synth and a deep beat before layering in foggy atmospheric haze ("Your love's so cold/Just like an arrow/Pierce through my skin I bleed"), and "So Far Away" pairs a high-pitched, swirly synth with distant-sounding lyrics and a low, plodding beat ("I can't believe all those things that you said/You broke my heart and you fucked with my head").  And as my final random example, "What I Like" warms up with a sped-up unst-unst-unst beat and then slows into an expanded ambient love song vibe, complete with almost-rapping and Auto-tuned segments ("You used to come around/You'd be knockin' on my front door/Playing board games horror films with the super gore").

So what's the verdict?  Well, since I'm no longer a maudlin 16-year-old with a need to get down on the dance floor, this album isn't really in my wheelhouse.  That being said - for what it is, it's a pretty solid debut, with good texture, fun beats, and enough heart and ocean imagery to please even the most die-hard Lisa Frank fans.  Or in other words, I can picture it blasting through the front doors of every Hot Topic nationwide.  Or in OTHER other words, if you like noir electropop but think Crystal Castles is too hardcore, you will probably love this album.  And even if you don't, you can still take this opportunity to think about fingering your favorite My Little Pony's butthole.  You're welcome.  Again.


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