Following a casual Sunday selfie a week before completing her album, it looks like (by our maths, anyway) Charli XCX has finished the follow-up to ‘Sucker’. From outlandish platform boots to feeding DIY endless onion rings during her turn on our cover in 2014, our Chazzer has always been ludicrously good fun, and ‘Sucker’ was a bubblegum burst of chanted slogans, fuzz-guitars, female empowerment anthems (see: ‘Body of my Own’) and pop-punk shaken up in a botched, gaffa-taped Nutribullet. Most importantly it was at complete odds with the album that came before it.
Typically, Charli XCX is showing clear signs of shaking things right up, all over again, and late last week she treated us to her first new burst of music since ‘Sucker’. Launching her own record label Vroom Vroom Recordings, and unveiling more collabs than Kanye’s ‘The Life of Pablo’ (well, nearly), Charli’s launched her own Beats 1 show, The Candy Shop, too. Rumours are abound, pointing towards a guest appearance from Paris Hilton in Charli’s next music video. And to cap it all off with a boom clap, Charli’s also been writing songs for Rihanna, and is promising her “most pop” album yet. Mixed, and done (!!!) her new album features SOPHIE, Noonie Bao, and Stargate, along with Blood Diamond under his new chart-ready Blood Pop moniker.
In other words, it’s all kicking off all over the shop, and we’re getting very excited about the prospect of another Charli XCX record in the very near future. Here’s a whistle-stop tour through every sneaky peek and early hint we have ahead of an album that “could change the sound of pop music”. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be unlike anything else we’ve heard from her.
I just wanna Break the Rules
Following the super-luxe, high-sheen soundscape of ‘True Romance,’ very few people expected Charli XCX to convert to punkdom. Still, that’s exactly what she did. Fed up with everyone harping on about her Icona Pop smash hit ‘I Love It,’ our Chazzer ran off to Sweden, where she donned safety pins and lay on the floor screaming about being allergic to love in gravelled tones instead. The bratty, gaudy, rowdy-on-the-school-bus record ‘Sucker’ followed, and now, Charli XCX is darting off in yet another different direction. Promising to take high-octane pop music, and bend it in physics-defying ways, the first proper musical releases from Charli since ‘Sucker’ are sounding like nothing on earth….
Rev the Lamborghini, roll up with a brand new EP
After finishing her new record last month (!!!), Charli XCX launched her own record label, Vroom Vroom Recordings. Taking its name from her collaboration with PC Music affiliated producer SOPHIE - which first surfaced late last year - Charli used the new imprint to launch an out-of-the-blue EP.
Totally batshit bonkers, the ‘Vroom Vroom’ EP samples Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction on ‘Trophy,’ features pastel-pink puffa coat queen Hannah Diamond as a guest on ‘Paradise’, and tries its hand at wonky Euro-trance all in the same breath. “Good girls shouldn’t party… get home be in bed by two,” grins Charli XCX gleefully - with no intentions of an early night - on ‘Secret (Shh),’ a skew-wiff, squelchy slow-jam. ‘Vroom Vroom’ might look like a standalone separate from a new album, but it’s a solid indication of the barmy avenues that Charli’s been revving down in that dastardly Lamborghini of hers.
Hand in the Ed Banger fire
Chazzer has long been a fan of the Parisian label Ed Banger; the home of bizarre, shimmering electro dance music from the likes of Justice, Breakbot, and Uffie. “With my first record I was very inspired by Ed Banger,” Charli previously said, speaking to DIY, and it’s a connection that continues to influence her. Pairing up with somebody from Ed Banger seemed like an inevitably brilliant match, and she did just that with Mr Oizo and the ‘Hand in the Fire’ EP just before Christmas last year.
Like former Mickey Mouse Club stars on a debauched trip to the neon-lit basement bars of Soho, Charli and Mr Oizo’s joint effort splices sickly-sweet chants and suggestive lyrics, against Oizos trademark springy handle on electronica. It’s also responsible for the return of Ed Banger’s yellow-hued, electro-loving creature, Flat Eric.
From Paris with love
The moment Charli XCX cited Paris Hilton as an influence on the new album, it was clear that her new direction would be nothing short of fabulous. For the uninitiated, Paris Hilton once took time out from trouping around various unsuitable workplaces with Nicole Ritchie on The Simple Life, and tried her hand at the whole music thing. Though results were admittedly mixed, Paris was also responsible for the finest underrated pop banger of all time; ‘Stars Are Blind’.
“I’ve been really inspired by Paris Hilton, small dogs and a glitter, luxe lifestyle,” Charli said during the tail end of last year. “I’m such a fan and one of my favourite songs ever is ‘Stars Are Blind’ – it’s pop genius.”
Alas, music would never prove to be Paris’ lead calling, and she went onto other things; notably her infamous DJ sets, and the incredible traincrash reality show that was Paris Hilton’s My British Best Friend. Still, her influence lives on in Charli XCX’s music, apparently. TTYL.
It’s an omen
On Valentines Day, Charli XCX performed at a loved-up Valium Valentine gig at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, ‘curated’ by Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt. Donning a luxurious gown of white toweling, she performed a track called ‘Too Many Omens’ live for the first time - a new collab with Wyatt. In the fan-filled footage which made its way online shortly after, a member of the audience is clearly audible whispering “I see Jesus”. Their unbridled excitement is understandable. Though ‘Too Many Omens’ looks like a feature spot rather than a solo taster, it’s yet another indication that Charli XCX’s pop lens is becoming more kaleidoscopic by the second.