The Quietus: Charli XCX True Romance



Recently there has been a lot of hype in the blogosphere about 20 year old Charli XCX from Hertfordshire. This girl has impressively toured with artists like Coldplay, Santigold, Sleigh Bells and Justice. She famously wrote and featured on Icon Pop’s ‘I love it’ and has been booked to tour with Marina and the Diamonds in the states and Ellie Goulding in Europe. With an impressive CV of music attributes, Charli XCX’s debut album True Romance should be nothing less than a stroke of pop genius.


As the record’s title unmistakeably suggests, every song is inevitably a story of Charli’s past love and break-ups. She describes her sound as gothic pop and has called upon collaborators like Ariel Reichstadt and Patrik Berger to hone in on her vision.


The album dawns with the track ‘Nuclear Seasons’. An array of eerie vocals echo around until the industrial beat clatters in and blends with low sounding synths. ‘Nuclear Season’ offers the impression of an electronic swirl of a song which compliments her Marina and the Diamonds type voice. ‘Grins’ is slightly similar in the sense that they both share the same elements of slow starts, gripping electronics and Charli’s coos to what sounds like an 80s pop melody.


Next falls the previously released, ‘You (ha ha ha)’ produced by Gold Panda. The track attests to be more experimental and ostensibly more hip hop which strangely contains an echo of MIA. The Video has had over 680k views on YouTube which has made it Charli XCX’s most rewarding single to date. Cloud Aura also rides with the same urban vibe by adding rapper Brooke Candy. The lyrics are unintelligent (I gave you my word and you took a shit on it) and the hook is disappointingly repetitive.


For the bulk of the True Romance tracks, Charli seems to have discovered one format and duplicates it. Bratty spoken rap verses against heavy synths leading to a decadent chorus. This is evident in tracks ‘Take my hand’, ‘Black Roses’, ‘So Far Away’ and ‘Set Me Free’. Sadly these tracks then fall into a bit of coma as they seem to blur against their predecessors.


‘Stay Away’ slickly begins her pair of dark romantic ballads that seizes more emotion than the latter. In this track Charli proves that her vocals are on top form and slightly reminiscent of previous eighties pop singers. ‘How Can I’ is her next crack at the sweet slow heartfelt romanticism that she was aiming for. Another modern eighties track churned out with more simplistic lyrics.


Her stand out track would be ‘You’re The One’. The dirty thick synths and Charli’s falsetto lets ‘You’re The One’ hint darkly at gothic tendencies as she then throws the song into a juxtaposed uplifting chorus which makes the song unique and tangible. Early attention-grabber ‘What I Like’ threatens to super glue on repeat to your brain with its easy to learn lyrics and simple yet effective melody.


‘Lock You Up’ closes the curtain on the True Romance, keeping in with the theme of electro pop synthesizers and effortless lyrics. It rounds up the whole of the album as charmingly sweet with a few swearwords and tales of drugs spat in to make it a bit more ‘edgy’. The gothic influence isn’t all that clear apart from the clothes that she resides in which begs the question of whether it’s really her music or her fashion that she is blogged about so much.

For The Quietus