Although I typically write reviews for R&B and hip-hop releases, I figured I’d step outside of my comfort zone and talk about an album that’s been on constant repeat for me.
Before I begin my review, I have a couple of embarrassing confessions to make. First of all, the only reason I even listened to “CRASH” was that a lot of the creators on TikTok that I follow were talking about it, with mostly positive things to say. I was even more intrigued because internet personality, music critic, and YouTuber Anthony Fantano gave it a 5/10, and in my experience, I tend to really enjoy albums that he rates poorly.
My second confession is that I had never really listened to Charli XCX before this album. I was pretty unfamiliar with her work aside from her hit song “Boom Clap” and her feature on Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy.”
“CRASH” comes at an awkward moment in Charli XCX’s career, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s the final album of her record label deal. Because of this, the album was made with a lot of intent of showing the culmination of her music career (she discusses this in her interview with Zane Lowe).
Secondly, the rollout of “CRASH” was met with lots of criticism and mixed reactions due to fans being disappointed with Charli’s change in sound. Charli XCX has always been at the forefront of experimental and avant-garde pop (this could honestly be its own blog post), and the singles she released in preparation for “CRASH” showed her shifting to a more mainstream, accessible sound. And well, let’s just say that Charli didn’t take her fans’ criticism very well.
However, despite the mixed reactions from its rollout, “CRASH” proves to be a thoroughly enjoyable listen, and another impressive addition to Charli XCX’s discography. Though sonically different from her past releases, Charli XCX uses this new direction to showcase that her talent isn’t limited to avant-garde or experimental music; she’s already transformed pop music and left a significant impact on its landscape, so it’s only natural that her version of “experimenting” is simply making mainstream, accessible pop. Her execution and performances negate any need for further experimentation.
I have a difficult time critiquing this record, not because it’s flawless, but because Charli XCX’s ability to make such colorful and infectious music outweighs any valuable criticism I can provide. That being said, there are certain tracks that didn’t speak to me as much as the other tracks, such as “Every Rule” and “Move Me.” Some tracks I didn’t initially enjoy, but have since grown on me, such as “Lightning” and “New Rules (feat. Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek).” Other tracks, such as “Twice” and “Yuck” are just incredible. They show a mastery of pop music from Charli XCX, and make for such a nice addition to her catalogue.
Although “CRASH” represents a sharp turn from Charli XCX’s PC Music days, it also shows a culmination of her talent, as well as what she’s capable of. She’s shown that she has nothing left to prove as an artist and that her talent and creativity aren’t limited to her reputation. “CRASH” not only represents Charli’s growth throughout her music career, but her impact on pop music, and I highly recommend you give this album a listen.