This is a very modern album, recorded by XCX at home during lockdown and in consultation with fans via social media. It’s also modern in that it’s mostly style over substance; she can write a melody but it’s hard to recall any of it afterwards.
The national critics seemed to love it, but she’s probably the kind of cool star their readers want them to rave about.
That aside it’s a cool and fun album, and, impressively, it was made in just five weeks during lockdown. The reviews make a lot of it being done at home but we’re less impressed with that, as we get a whole newspaper out every week from home.
Opener Pink Diamond is so fizzing and modern it’s almost not a tune, all futuristic boops, beeps and drops “I just wanna go real hard” she sings politely. Probably the sort of thing young people say.
Forever is slower and more fluffy while Claws is poppier but still chilled out and fluffy, with auto-tuned vocals. 7Years is a bit bland albeit less cotton wool while Detonate, despite the name, is a nice pop tune. Enemy sounds like it’s going to kick off into a 70s pop classic helmed by Bonnie Tyler but never does, though it does have a groove; the garage-y I Finally Understand is one of the strong tracks.
Party 4U promises to be a Prince soundalike and while it has some of a Prince air to the melody it lacks any funk. Anthems, on the other hand, delivers what it promises, a big synth-based dance tune.
Overall, pleasant more than anything, with enough complexity to make it interesting. Lyrically it seems to be personal and about the insularity of life in lockdown, as well as her boyfriend.