Charli XCX is, in my opinion, the most underrated pop star in the game right now. Sure, she has plenty of plays on Spotify and has opened for some huge acts, but she continually goes under the radar. How often do you hear her name in the every day conversations of pop music fans? Or on the radio? Or in commercials or TV Shows? Rarely. Charli is on a role lately though with her huge hit “Boys” and some killer collaborations with the likes of Tove Lo and MO. Before we get to her newest mixtape, we need to highlight the last three years in the life of Charli XCX.
These years have been insane for her; she’s gone from pop punk to glam pop to bubblegum pop to a more mainstream brand of dance pop. She’s worked closely with PC Music founder and extremely talented producer AG Cook on songs like “After the Afterparty” and “Paradise” among many others. Her versatility, her pitch perfect stage presence and willingness to continuously branch out is so, so rare to find in musicians. Its why I feel so strongly that Charli is not getting the recognition she deserves. Maybe, just maybe, Pop 2 will propel her permanently into the national pop consciousness.
Pop 2 is an album that pushes the limits of the genre. Charli brought in an all star cast of featuring artists on this album including Carly Rae Jepsen, Caroline Polachek formerly with Chairlift, Tove Lo, MO and Mykki Blanco. Theres definitely some bangers on this album but, for me, the focus should be all on her slower, moodier songs. The opening track, “Backseat,” featuring Carly Rae is the highlight of the album for me. It’s the perfect opener in that it unleashes Charli’s mercurial and sultry style right away. The production by AG and fellow PC producer EasyFun is top notch on this track. Carly Rae matches the intensity of Charli perfectly in her verse.
Breakin’ your heart, split it in half
Told you it all (Told you it all)
Year and a half, are we in love?
I’ll never know (I’ll never know)
I know I’m wrong, what a mistake
I’ll ever change (I’ll ever change)
I can’t escape all the voices, and so, I turn it up
Throughout this album, and especially in songs like “Backseat”, “Tears” and “Porsche,” Charli’s cadence is just so good; it’s why I prefer her slower songs on this album than the club-ready tracks. Don’t get me wrong, I think “Out of My Head” could be a huge hit for her with the help of Tove Lo, and “Unlock It” holds its own as well even though it could do without Jay Parks rap verse. You’ll want to stay for the drop on the mostly forgettable track “Delicious” and “I Got It” is way too much feature, way too little Charli. I think the smartest production on the album is on “Porsche,” where they’ve worked to make sure MO doesn’t completely steal the track with her incredible voice, and the addition of harmonies between the two on the chorus is fantastic.
Charli XCX continues to put in the time to be a full blown pop super star; her music shows it and her live performances ooze with stardom. Her insatiable appetite to be different should pay off any day now, and even if it doesn’t, theres no denying her immense talent featured on Pop 2.