What I really like about Charli XCX is that despite flirting with a variety of styles over the length of her recording history they’ve always sat under the umbrella of pop, but it has always been pop with a sharper edge. She’s got the hooks but they’re darker, deadlier and more deviant than the output of much of her peer group.
And so it is with new track forever. Charli has always been prolific when it comes to writing and recording, and the recent lockdown finds her channelling her creative energies into making a whole new album. “I’m going to basically be making it live from scratch – there are a couple of ideas in the works, but basically I’m starting from nothing,” she explained.
forever contains everything that makes Charli XCX a great pop artist. There’s the aforementioned hook (which admittedly has a hint of Track 10 / Blame It On Your Love to it) but then there’s the warped weird production of the verses. Apparently A.G Cook of PC Music has a helping hand in it which could explain some of the more left of centre hyper futuristic ruffled glitter oddness. Listen to that dirty electronic sound at the beginning and the whooshing noise that might make you think of a heart murmur heard through a very powerful stethoscope. It's like Aphex Twin making a pop record. Almost. Then lyrically it’s just expresses some simple sentiments: “I will always love you, I love you forever, even when we’re not together.” It’s good stuff.
Charli is intending to bash out the album in the next few weeks and release it in May. Now there’s all sorts of arguments about quality control when projects are rolled out quickly like this, but personally I’m a big fan of this kind of idea. Over analysing something and putting it through a massive music industry machine can sometimes cement in all the cracks; often it’s the cracks that provide the life of a record. More of this please and less artists doing shitty quality Instagram live streams on their terrible wi-fi connection via their phone – those sort of performances don’t have cracks, but gaping ugly chasms.
Charli XCX - forever