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REVIEW: Charli XCX’s new album is a beautiful encapsulation of human emotion



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Charli XCX performs during the MTV Europe Music Awards on Nov. 12, 2017 at the SSE Arena in London. Tribune News Service

"How I’m Feeling Now" was written, recorded and released entirely while the artist, Charli XCX, was sheltering in place due to COVID-19, with the exception of a few songs. The album focuses on isolation, nostalgia, socializing through the Internet and how her relationship has grown during COVID-19.

The artist collaborated with many other producers and artists to create this album, all while social distancing. Charli XCX even collaborated with fans through Instagram and Twitter to come up with lyrics for some of the songs, most heavily on the song “anthems.” 

This collaboration over social media seems fitting for the times, and she even announced her album over a Zoom conference on April 6, 2020. It took a total of 39 days for the album to be released.

I have been an avid Charli XCX fan for a little over seven years, and I had a kidney transplant a little over seven years ago as well, both things I admittedly couldn’t help crying about while listening to the song “7 years,”specifically the lyrics “These seven years have really really flown by.” Such a simple message about time in an upbeat pop song, yet in a time of quarantine where time seems to drag on and yet fly by at the same time, it seemed more relevant than ever.

I had such an emotional reaction listening to this album that I found myself dancing and crying while playing it on almost full volume on my speaker in my room. I spent a lot of time reminiscing on my past seven years, how they shaped me as a person and all of the things I’ve gone through in that time. 

The song “claws” speaks of a honeymoon phase in a relationship, and the song is upbeat and playful. The whole album, although very emotionally vulnerable, is very fun and a great album to lose yourself into during these dark and uncertain times of pandemic. 

The final song on the album, “visions,” finishes off with a rave. Charli XCX leaves the listeners dancing at the end, distracted from the seriousness of the current situation our world is facing. The lyrics are hopeful regarding the uncertain future of both Charli XCX’s life and the world.

"How I’m Feeling Now" is a prime example of Internet pop music. The artist recorded a very large percentage of the music in her own home and collaborated over the internet to create it. The album creates a perfect party at home over a Zoom call atmosphere, ideal for an internet culture.

My personal favorites in the album are “claws,” “7 years,” and “party 4 u.” Since its release on May 15, 2020, I’ve already lost count of the amount of times I’ve played it.

Stream Charli XCX’s "How I’m Feeling Now" for clear skin.

Rachel Cambron (she/her or they/them) is a recent graduate with a major in English. She writes poetry in her spare time.

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