Charli XCX - Brat (Clear Pink Splatter)

Regular price $ 39.99

Charli XCX might not be an upstart anymore, but she sure sounds like one on Brat. Though Crash, her first number one album in the U.K. and her first Top Ten album in the U.S., may have made her a bona fide pop star, her sixth album's edgy sounds and soul-baring songwriting aren't the moves of an artist resting on her laurels. Any worries that Crash's conceptual slickness meant she'd forsaken the hyperpop that built her reputation as an innovator are put to rest as she revisits that style -- as well as the sounds she grew up with as a club kid of the late 2000s and early 2010s -- with raw eloquence. Co-produced by XCX with longtime collaborators A.G. Cook and Easyfun as well as Gesaffelstein and the 1975's George Daniel, Brat's supersaturated sound amplifies her music's swaggering highs and vulnerable depths. With its motion-blur synths and streaking beat, "Von Dutch" lives up to the self-obsessed indie sleaze hedonism of its namesake; by contrast, "B2B"'s bumping rhythm echoes the song's numbing ricochet between the points of a love triangle. XCX's skill at imbuing proudly artificial, deceptively simple sonics with complicated emotions rivals the brilliance of her late friend SOPHIE, whose spirit is everywhere on Brat. She's namechecked on the exuberant jolt of "Club Classics" and gets a touching tribute on "So I," which answers the producer's "It's OK to Cry" with challenging and inspiring memories of their friendship. When XCX digs deeper into the complexities of relationships with women, Brat shines especially brightly. Filled with toothy synths and biting lyrics, "Mean Girls" is equally savage and sympathetic, an anthem in the making for "tear that sh*t apart girls." Fans will want to know exactly which acclaimed female artist XCX is referring to on "Girl, So Confusing," but the honesty she brings to its portrait of a frenemy-ship ("Can't tell if you wanna see me/Falling over and failing") is more than satisfying in its own right. Charli hasn't been this confessional since how i'm feeling now, and songs like "Everything Is Romantic," an impressionistic collage loosely held together by a four-on-the-floor beat, recall that album. More often, though, Brat's music is as direct as XCX's emotions -- the bouncy pop perfection of "Talk Talk" only makes her pleas for communication more bittersweet. She even manages to make her fame sound relatable, pondering the appeal of a life outside of pop music on the winsome, Kero Kero Bonito-esque "I Think About It All the Time" and on "I Might Say Something Stupid," where the processed warble in her voice can't disguise the sincerity when she sings, "I'm famous/But not quite." Even if she's somewhere between an insider and an outsider, XCX never sounds uncertain. By being a brat -- defying expectations, choosing herself -- she delivers some of her most engaging and mature music.

360    2:13
Club Classics    2:33
Sympathy Is A Knife    2:31
I Might Say Something Stupid    1:49
Talk Talk    2:41
Von Dutch    2:44
Everything Is Romantic    3:23
Rewind    2:48
So I    3:31
Girl, So Confusing    2:54
Apple    2:31
B2b    2:58
Mean Girls    3:09
I Think About It All The Time    2:15
365    3:23