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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

‘CRASH’ Review: The irrefutable world of Charli XCX

Emily Lipson
“Crash” is the newest album released by British pop star Charli XCX on March 18.

In the last five years, Charli XCX has proven herself to be one of the most consistent pop artists of our time with albums “Pop 2,” “Charli,” and “how i’m feeling now.” Her work has made her something akin to the Lady Gaga of the late 2010s: an artist who is demanding, self-righteous and impossible to ignore. 

On her seventh album, Charli enters her “sellout” era, as she told NPR, embracing what it means to be a pop giant in the 2020s, releasing “CRASH,” an album that turns the eccentricity of “how i’m feeling now” and “Pop 2” into her most digestible and explosive one yet.

Prior to the release, Charli entering an era of “selling out,” maliciously or not, puzzled me, questioning my trust in what “CRASH” could bring to the table.

When the popstar was on the podcast “How Long Gone” last September, my puzzlement furthered as she made remarks on what she looked for in an artist.

“When I think about artists, it’s their personality and the world that they create,” she told hosts Chris Black and Jason Stewart. “I care more about their marketing campaigns than their music.”

Though after much thought, this may just be the most progressive she’s been in her whole career.

In fact, it may just be that Charli’s outlook on the industry is ridden in realism, an approach that, while being unorthodox for an artist, is justified and quite possibly more productive than I’d like to think.

In a world where separating capitalism and music is impossible, hiding from the marketing schemes of higher-ups cannot abate any harm. On “CRASH,” Charli is making the best of it. 

“CRASH” bursts with ego, a trait that can make or break an album, and fortunately for us, ego looks extremely flattering on Charli.

On “New Shapes,” Charli insists, “What you want,/I ain’t got it,” which might just be the perfect mantra for anybody who desires to be as bulletproof as her.

At its strongest, this record becomes a testament to what it means to truly love yourself and demanding control over the room, all through using her energy to define the power she’s capable of.

For Charli, energy is everything. This becomes evident on “CRASH” as Charli’s vitality is marked on every single one of the tracks, making it extremely hard to refuse what she has to offer.

This isn’t to say Charli is merely immortal throughout the entire record. 

On “Beg For You,” she cries for her partner to stay through the line “You know I go insane every time you have to catch a flight.” On the beautifully debilitated “Lightning,” Charli screams for heartbreak, singing, “You struck me down like lightning/My stupid heart can’t fight it/So tell mе what you want and I’ma give it to ya.” Her lyrics insist on a heartbreak that is chaotic, unstable, and more importantly, believable.

That said, this isn’t the same chaos heard on “how i’m feeling now,” her masterclass of hyperpop, which was notably crafted during early lockdown in 2020.

On “how i’m feeling now,” there was a notion that Charli was rightfully crowning herself the empress of hyperprop, bringing her underground family into the mainstream once and for all. Its presence was that of a passion project for not only herself but for the whole scene, who could have never imagined a sound so eccentric could ever find a spot outside of the message boards.

On “CRASH,” the production of A.G. Cook, who, with the help of the late SOPHIE, brought Charli into the world of hyperpop, is only featured twice, a departure from his heavy involvement on “how i’m feeling now.”

Albeit, “CRASH” proves even further that progression is what suits her best, for Charli’s knack to push ideas forward is more present than ever on this album, which has a collection of tracks that show the glorious chaos Charli brings to the table.

Telling Charli to stick to one sound is like telling a dog to stop barking for food. She’s not stopping until she gets what she wants.

Yet again, after listening to “CRASH,” it’s clear she’s not barking for what she wants, she’s barking for what she deserves.

If “CRASH” is Charli selling out, then nobody’s ever sold out in such high fashion as she has.

On this record, Charli is as driven as ever, motivated by her success and driving herself onto the lane of mainstream pop that she has been reaching out for for a long time.

Selling out or not, Charli continues to push the envelope with “CRASH,” her biggest record yet and, more importantly, a love letter to knowing your own worth.

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About the Contributor
Colin Doherty, Staff Writer | he/him
Colin is a junior English major, concentrating in Public and Professional Writing. His writing stems from his grueling love for all things pop culture, with music as his main focus. Colin loves to spend his time at house shows and arguing over where the best burrito in Boston is.

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‘CRASH’ Review: The irrefutable world of Charli XCX