Charli XCX – BRAT

5

You know Charli XCX. You danced to her back in 2015 when she danced about crashing her ex-boyfriend’s car into a bridge on Swedish duo Icona Pop’s hit “I Love It,” you heard her over and over again on the radio when she played the Brittany Murphy to Iggy Azalea’s Alicia Silverstone in “Fancy.” But somehow every time a new critic delves into the pop charts, she ends up as the oft-discussed little-known background songwriter to pop chicks like Hilary Duff (yes “Boom Clap” was meant to be sung by Hilary Duff). 

The big guys at Atlantic Records seem pretty desperate to get Charli XCX talked about in ways that range from pathetic to somewhat ridiculous. Charli XCX responded with a tongue-in-cheek TikTok that included fellow It Girl Rachel Sennot making fun of each of those ideas. 

The thing is that Charli XCX doesn’t need audacious publicity stunts or cryptic Instagram easter egg hunts to get attention. Charli has been turning heads since her teenage rave days in the UK, dropping singles on her MySpace with names like “Art Bitch.” Now with her sixth studio album, she’s finally got the attention of the Instagram gods and the magazine covers. And she did that by being the effortlessly cool party girl that she has been from the beginning. 

On BRAT, she has filled the album with the kind of rave singles that encourage you to dance rather than ponder the double meanings of a lyric and which boyfriend they might describe. That’s not to say that the entire album is shallow or empty, in fact, several singles display a thoughtful vulnerability that is as far from the club as it could be. On “So I” Charli mourns her late mentor SOPHIE, opening up about her regrets concerning the relationship. One of the best songs on BRAT is “Sympathy is a knife,” a harsh track that details her insecurities and the conflict between wanting sympathy and being humiliated when she gets it. 

But still, the most memorable songs on the album are bangers like “Von dutch” and the mega-hit “360,” which saw its accompanying video featuring Julia Fox, Gabriette, and Chloe Sevigny. “That city sewer slut’s the vibe/ Internationally recognized /I set the tone, it’s my design /And it’s stuck in your mind” she sings with a fully electronic synth that makes it almost impossible not to dance as slutty as possible. When people say the 1990s and 2000s are back, Charli XCX is what they’re talking about.