Charli XCX doesn’t care what you think about her music. The British singer songwriter is too busy playing by her own rules. She releases music when she wants and how she wants, and mixes electronic beats and pop synths that create a sound that is all her own.
Experimenting with music is nothing new for the pop artist. She gained public recognition for her features on radio hits like 2012’s “I Love It” by Icona Pop and 2014’s “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea.
Her 2014 single “Boom Clap” made it onto iPods everywhere, and it was featured in the film “The Fault in Our Stars” adapted from the young adult novel of the same name.
Her first two studio albums, “True Romance” and “Sucker,” played it somewhat safe besides the standout track “You – Ha Ha Ha” from the former, a head banging array of electronic melodies and low vocals.
It wasn’t until Charli worked with Glasgow-born producer SOPHIE on her 2016 EP “Vroom Vroom” that she truly came into her own. A synth-produced engine rev plays alongside the titular track's chorus and makes for an interesting riding around in your car with sunglasses on and roof down song.
In 2017, Charli XCX released “Number 1 Angel,” a mix tape filled with feminine tenacity and sass. “Gloss on my lips, pop, sun in my eyes” Uffie talk-sings on the bubblegum ballad “Babygirl.” The single “Boys” and its star-studded music video garnered viral status and adoration for flipping the gender-script.
Then came “Pop 2,” a disruptive, mega-collaboration from the best that “pop of tomorrow” has to offer. Carly Rae Jepsen, Tove Lo and Kim Petras were among the many features on this deep-dive into experimental pop. In 2017 Charli told Fader she intended to give a preview of pop music to come, and according to her, the future is filled with heavy auto tune and fast beats.
This year she’s reached more audiences than ever as the opener for Taylor Swift on her "reputation Stadium Tour" and has been releasing a steady stream of bops. Conforming to the template that record labels usually urge artists to follow is seemingly insignificant to Charli, as she releases singles whenever she feels the time is right.
The 2018 tracks are each adorned with cover art featuring Charli herself in metallic or feathered ensembles, sprawled out on clouds saturated by glossy ink blobs. Amongst those songs, “Focus” stands out as a futuristic cut that’s a relatable and fun to sing along to.
Her latest release, the pop-culture cornucopia “1999” featuring Troye Sivan is a blast from the past, with a video that boasts personality and wit.
Charli’s sound is continuing to evolve. Her music, eclectic and somewhat unhinged, reflects the time we’re in and where we’re trying to go.