Discussion in 'Pop & Justice' started by Heartthrob, May 23, 2021.
heartbreaker really hit me once they say that it won't happen twice
YOU STRUCK ME DOWN LIKE LIGHTING
Yeah, this is absolutely incredible.
My excitement for tour has just gone up tenfold
Album's fine in the end, which is far more than I was expecting from the singles, but I do think it'll be case of taking about half the track listing and... probably not really bothering with the rest ever again, and it does feel like her least interesting effort since... well, the last time she made a big chart play. Where the self-titled's problem was that so much of it was either a bit toothless or she was completely engulfed by the endless feature artists, here everything feels a little overthought to the point of being sterile.
I kinda feel like she's entirely oblivious to the fact that a good part of her charm in terms of material - regardless of genre or structure - comes from how frequently jagged and messy it is, and her way of translating herself for the mainstream always seems to be to try and shave all that away to present something pristine but utterly vacuous. Like, "Beg For You"... maybe the limpest thing she's ever released.
And before y'all even start: I know. I know the remit for this was BPG cosplay (...which has acted more like a convenient one-size-fits-all defence of literally any kind of criticism rather than a concept but whatever) but the funny thing is... Charli's incredibly unique role as someone who has lived at pop's uncharted borders mapping the land beyond is that... that's pretty big BPG energy to begin with, and weirdly enough I think the album's intentions shrink those ambitions, rather than expanding them. Does she not live in the biggest kingdoms and courts of pop music as a consequence of existing in those borders? Maybe so. But she will be a reference point for artists in a decade and most likely still operating when so many other people who are far more successful than her now will be forgotten by pop culture and selling vitamins on Instagram. Look how many people she's outlasted already!
Anyway, tl;dr. Charli basically already serves BPG energy, but intentionally going out her way to do so is actually counter-productive to that to me.
not you exposing yourself as a bleep bloop cig i always knew this day would come
Beg For You is not limp. The melodies are an absolute slay.
Beg For You is one of the weakest tracks on the album, and when the record is as short as it is, it absolutely sticks out like a sore thumb. Quick someone leak the song Rina x Charli did for the self-titled so we can hear how much better it is.
Yeah September did a great job sixteen years ago.
The production on Beg For You is giving…Chromatica nn.
Below the cut, you'll find @superultra's first impressions!
Like @Jersey said, "Crash" serves as the thesis statement that drives this album, much like "Next Level Charli" guided her self-titled affair. "Crash" takes her affinity for half-rapped spoken word and juxtaposes it with new jack swing, which sounds great on her. The track and its guitar solo flirt with an industrial sound, immediately taking my mind to something akin to "If" by Janet (thee example of combining industrial with new jack swing).
"Constant Repeat" gives breakbeat and garage vibes throughout. The lyrics to this one surprised me in the best way. It possesses some of the best, sharpest lyrics on the album. "When you're lonely, are you ever thinking 'bout the magic in me?" grips me by the throat. She asserts herself well over this beat. I'm glad she further explored breakbeat/garage/2-step after "i finally understand" and "detonate."
"Move Me" reminds me of the work that BJ Burton did on both how i'm feeling now and III by BANKS, as well as Timbaland's atmospheric production on FutureSex/LoveSounds. While Charli's voice strikes me as shriller than usual on this one, the lyrics manage to arrest me and endear me to the track. Of all the tracks, this one feels indebted to mid-2000s, Timbaland-esque R&B, but I like this sound on her! She should explore this more. (It reminds me of the "Breathe Out" demo that she recorded and sadly never released for how i'm feeling now.)
I've already waxed poetic a lot about "Lightning" (but not nearly enough). The snippet she previewed on TikTok Live really does not prepare you for that insanely propulsive chorus. It's moody, romantic, and easily the most fleshed-out song on the entire album. After all, it has the longest track length of them all. It serves as a natural progression of her fascination with dark walls of synths, '80s new wave, glitchy pop, and tortured love affairs. Some of the best vocal effects (and vocal takes from this era period) happen in this song. A far cry from the struggle vocals in "Beg for You." It's also one of the few tracks that has a breakdown/bridge, so let's celebrate that.
"Every Rule" ... Charli always has to have a song about cheating and creeping around, doesn't she? Ddd. It's soft and pretty, and I definitely hear OPN's sound all over this (now that I've familiarized myself with their work). The track reminds me of how i'm feeling now and Charli at their softest, most intimate, and most vulnerable. The electric pianos that arrive in the outro add to that softness.
"Yuck" sends the fuck out of me lyrically. Some of the lyrics in the hook strike me as clunky compared to the fun wit of the first verse's lyrics. (The contrast between "All these butterflies make me sick / Hocus pocus shit, I'm bewitched" and "Looking at me all sucky (?) / Quit acting like a puppy" jarred me. I'll give her a slight pass because of "puppy love" being an appropriate idiom here, though.) Overall, though, it's a punchy, late-night, funk-influenced affair about being turned on and off at the same time. It reminds me of Doja, The Weeknd, and Tinashe's funkiest, most disco-adjacent moments. It's fun, and I can see this being promoted in some capacity.
"Used to Know Me" is a basic, Chromatica-type, '90s-house-inspired track, owing its entire sound to "Show Me Love" by Robin S. Unfortunately, a good house beat will sucker me—no pun intended—into at least giving the song a chance. The lyrics and melody on this one are strong enough, and she manages to hold her own against such an iconic sample. I can see why this would be the next song to get pushed. It's brief, though, and it could stand to pop off even more, but I'll let it slide since it doesn't shit on the iconic "Show Me Love."
"Twice" serves a great way of combining her hyperpop sound with more tropical, mainstream pop (not unlike "Warm" and "3AM (Pull Up)"). The version she premiered during her Bands in Town concert featured production of a less bubbly and more atmospheric variety. However, this version keeps a consistent, punchy beat before veering into a hazy outro featuring a welcomed key change. Again, like @Jersey mentioned, the lyrics hearken back to "c2.0." It's actually refreshing to hear her singing about topics other than twisted romance and fast cars. It's wholesome and ends the album on a promising note that suggests she didn't forget about her hyperpop pioneering. It also suggests that she's not as destructive as she believes and she's capable of nurturing positive relationships.
"New Shapes," "Good Ones," "Beg for You," and "Baby" all slot well into the album. Granted, I plan on replacing "Beg for You" with the superior A.G. Cook remix. He made the production more interesting and true to Charli's style, in my opinion. Plus, it helps sell the sample rather than emphasize its derivative use.
Crash arrives as a sleek, glossy record. It still features avant-garde flair and thoughtful moments. It's not a bleak, soulless, sellout affair. Charli does her best when she spills the contents of her heart instead of chasing after a hit, like on "Lightning," "Twice," and "Every Rule." She reveals much about herself and her vices throughout, providing a more candid affair than I anticipated. Furthermore, the tracks with the longer durations possess the most interesting soundscapes. The album, despite its brevity, has more breathing room without as many features as her past efforts. She's at her best when she's the trendsetter and not chasing the trends. Furthermore, it's a well-sequenced album. The tracks flow into one another without being jarring choices.
I only mourn the lack of bridges/middle eights throughout the album, and I wish the tracks that relied on samples used them in a more clever manner, but "Used to Know Me" manages to not get consumed by its source sample, so it has that advantage over "Beg for You."
Overall, Charli serves self-deprecating lyrics that cut deeper than anticipated across high-gloss beats. I hope she explores some of these soundscapes in the future. For all this era's perceived weaknesses, it does have its strengths.
I can't get over "Lightning", Jesus fucking Christ. It's not often that I hype myself for a song so much only for it to it actually exceed those expectations.
Lightning is giving me New Order's Bizarre Love Triangle in the best way possible.
Yeah, this is great. Twice is really cute and "got me on repeat" is aptly circling through my mind, but the holy trinity has gotta be Lightning, Yuck and Used to Know Me.
Nn I've been saying Used To Know Me has parts of "Malibu"... I meant Miami
Not the album actually being great! No wonder she was melting down. Sorry, Charles.
Used to Know Me aptly titled because every cig who listens to this song immediately dies by synth.
I'm trying not to overplay Lightning before it's officially out but this battle I'm losing, girls. This song was made for a 10-minute long video.
The way Yuck sounds like Charli doing Calvin's Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1? I have to stan a bit!
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