We had Charli XCX pegged as bland pop singer aimed at teenagers who listen to X Factor but we were either wrong or she’s taken a new direction. This still bears all the hallmark of commercial pop — she’s not daft enough to abandon tunes that will sound good on the radio or in clubs — but there’s also an edgy, if not experimental, side to this.
Next Level Charli opens (“I go hard, I go fast, and I never look back”) and it’s a more conventional song, even a bit of a banger, so as not to frighten away old fans. Gone is even more commercial, featuring Christine and the Queens and a massive chorus. Cross You Out is where it starts to stray from the formula, a heavy bass sound and minimal tune; it would make good music for a film. 1999 goes back to the pop of that year, referencing Britney; closer 2099 opens with clanging electronica but is a minimalistic tune that changes direction at least once, presumably the pop of the future (1999 might make you think of Prince; in songs such as the slower I Don’t Wanna Know, apparently the oldest song on the album, she nods to Prince).
Elsewhere, there are poppier songs such as Silver Cross and February 2017, while other songs such as Official are edgier.
All in all: it is basically pop but she does her best to work the genre.
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