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Pop - Released December 15, 2017 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released September 13, 2019 | Asylum

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During the five years between Sucker and her self-titled official third album, Charli XCX was busier than ever exploring the different sides of her music. Not only did she found her own label, Vroom Vroom, she wrote songs for and collaborated with a who's who of pop music. She also released two mixtapes, Number 1 Angel and Pop 2, that reflected her mercurial talent -- and her connections to pop's underground and mainstream -- better than either True Romance or Sucker did. With Charli, she attempts to capture the spontaneity of those releases in a more polished format; more often than not, she succeeds. This is especially true of the collaborations that dominate the album's first half, where she's joined by some of pop's best and brightest. "Gone," which teams Charli with Christine and the Queens, is a standout that combines the crisp, double-jointed synth pop of Chris with Charli's flair for pop fantasies into a bold '80s fever dream tailor-made for dance-offs. On "Cross You Out," Charli recruits Sky Ferreira, who expertly adds some extra drama to its hyperreal heartache. The album's timeliest assist comes from Lizzo, whose irrepressible cameo on "Blame It on Your Love" helps distinguish it from the many other tropical and dancehall-inspired songs released in the late 2010s. However, it's Charli's two songs with Troye Sivan that establish the album's sound and vision. On "1999," the duo delivers an unabashedly nostalgic love song to pop's past, singing the praises of Britney and Michael over brittle synths that evoke Max Martin's heyday; later, they close the album with "2099," a darkly gleaming track that, thanks to the fractured production of PC Music's AG Cook, sounds like the landing of a spaceship -- or a time machine. Cook and other members of the PC Music collective ensure that Charli never becomes too straightforward, particularly on "Shake It," which features frantically sloshing and clanking tones that match the feverish energy of Big Freedia, CupcakKe, Brooke Candy, and Pabllo Vittar. In comparison to the album's numerous collaborations, Charli's solo tracks feel separate, and sound much lonelier. Though "Thoughts" and "I Don't Wanna Know" prioritize a mood of late-night regret over hooks, Charli saves two of the album's best songs -- the bittersweet "White Mercedes" and the tentatively hopeful "Official" -- for herself. While Charli gives equal time to her pop bona fides and her experimental leanings in a way similar to Number 1 Angel or Pop 2, it doesn't always join these facets of her music as effortlessly. In a way, its unevenness is only fitting for an artist as committed to blurring pop's artistic boundaries and connecting the dots between its past, present, and future as she is -- that she's this hard to pin down this far into her career is exactly what makes her a continually intriguing talent. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 15, 2020 | Atlantic Records UK

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Just six months after the release of her third studio album, Charli, Charli XCX found herself confined in her home in Los Angeles. The hyperactive English songwriter quickly set herself the challenge of writing an album from scratch in just six weeks and, most importantly, she made the project an interactive experience with her fans. While she was guided by industry titans such as A.G. Cook, (founder of the label PC Music) and BJ Burton (producer for Bon Iver and Miley Cyrus), everyone was invited to take part in the project. Some people sent her snippets of music while others gave their opinion on the demos she played on Instagram or the lyrics she posted on Twitter. She also organised Zoom conferences with hundreds of participants. The result is a pretty solid album by Charli XCX that remains faithful to the futuristic electronic pop sound that made her famous, with potential hit songs like the autotuned ballad Forever, the more dance-y Claws, as well as the lovely hybrid electro-pop song, I Finally Understand. And it seems like the artist may even carry on down that road: “I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner!”. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Pop - Released July 17, 2019 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released April 9, 2020 | Asylum - Atlantic

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Pop - Released May 15, 2019 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released March 10, 2017 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released August 19, 2014 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released October 5, 2018 | Atlantic Records UK

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 26, 2016 | Vroom Vroom Recordings

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Pop - Released June 16, 2014 | Asylum

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Pop - Released July 26, 2017 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released June 29, 2018 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released December 15, 2014 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released September 12, 2019 | Asylum

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Pop - Released May 31, 2018 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released October 28, 2016 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released April 23, 2020 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released January 18, 2019 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released April 12, 2013 | Atlantic Records

In the couple of years leading up to her debut album, True Romance, Charli XCX issued a slew of singles, EPs, and mixtapes that mixed moody synth pop with rap and R&B into a sound billed as "neon goth." Despite that somewhat awkward description of her style, Charli does have a flair for chiaroscuro, switching easily from brooding ("Set Me Free") to sparkly ("Take My Hand"), sometimes within the course of one song ("You're the One," one of five previously released tracks here). In some ways, she's the opposite of Grimes, who sprinkles just enough sugar over her quirky musical ideas to make them accessible. Instead, Charli XCX's songs are pop with a capital P -- she's unabashed in her love for Britney and Mariah -- but just odd enough to be unique. Like Quentin Tarantino, to whom True Romance's title pays homage, she has a flair for combining a wide array of pop culture sources into something fresh and familiar, as well as a fondness for strong female characters. These songs are filled with tough girls in varying stages of love, most strikingly on the equally vindictive and catchy "You (Ha Ha Ha)," which punctuates its heartbreak with bitter laughter. While Charli's rapping won't threaten many MCs, her laid-back delivery is reminiscent of Uffie as well as late-'80s and early-'90s pop, particularly the charmingly awkward "flow" of the Spice Girls, whom she counts as a major influence. Elsewhere, she smooths some of the edges of her previous work -- not that True Romance's pop isn't engagingly strange, and strangely engaging. Inventive productions are as vital to her music as her bold persona; she's worked with Lindstrøm, Balam Acab, Jezus Million, and other innovative producers, and tracks like the dreamy, R&B-tinged "So Far Away" help her blur her influences into something she can call her own. Her songs could easily be all surface and attitude, but there's also a genuine emotional pull to them: the excellent ode to romantic familiarity "What I Like" is peppered with enough details to sound as cozy as a boyfriend's sweater feels. Previously released songs like "Nuclear Seasons" and "Stay Away" remain highlights, but new songs like "Black Roses" -- one of the best blends of really-real feelings and unashamedly artificial sounds here -- show that Charli didn't give away all of her tricks and treats on her EPs. Since quite a few of these songs were already road-tested, it's not surprising that this is a strong debut, but just how consistently catchy and personal True Romance is might raise a few eyebrows. © Heather Phares /TiVo