Charli XCX’s career has oscillated between two extremes: massive, stadium-filling popularity and a “if you know you know” status supported by a small but loyal fan base intent on keeping her vision of a pop-propelled future under wraps.
Charli XCX’s Ever-Evolving Pop
She is currently making considerable efforts to bring the two closer together. Released on March 18th, Charli XCX’s new album Crash is a concise lesson on the fundamentals of pop music.
She establishes herself as a pop queen who can stand with the greats like Janet, Madonna, and Britney across 12 tracks that bob and weave across almost four decades of chart-topping sounds, from the Wham!-esque gated reverb of the ’80s to the disco revival of the 2020s.
In the eyes of some viewers, this plot twist may have come out of left field. Although she dislikes the label, Charli XCX has emerged as a leader in the hyperpop genre in recent years.
Charli XCX’s Most Recent Album, How i’m Feeling Now
She rose to fame thanks to her mixtapes, which featured collaborations with other pop singers and producers. Her most recent album, how i’m feeling now, stripped down the Charli XCX sound to its essence while still showcasing her innovative spirit.
For her, Crash is innovative in a different sense: For the first time in nearly a decade, she fully embraces a mainstream pop character on this record, her final for Atlantic Records, and creates an album centred around the concept of, in her words, playing “the game.”
What if she fit the mould of a “big label pop star,” as the term is often understood? How would that even appear? For Charli XCX, this means taking on her most vampire-like character, one that draws on her years of pop pretence and celebrates doing what others in her field have never admitted to doing: selling out.
As the album suggests, Charli XCX has completely changed her focus from experimental music to mainstream pop.
Perhaps she’s feeling nervous because this is her final album with the major label she’s been with since she was a teenager that she’s been signed to since she was a teenager.
On the other hand, maybe Charli XCX’s frame of mind while making Crash is symptomatic of a wider transition in her career, one in which she is confident enough in her art to finally take charge of her own narrative and carve out a way to the pop superstardom she has always desired.