Charli XCX evokes True Romance

The Southerner

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By Sequoyah Murray

I am an extremely nostalgic person, and with that comes the ability for me to remember the exact place I was in when I first heard a song. The first time that I heard a song by Charli, I was in the Starbucks across the street from Grady; my friends and I wanted some hot drinks and it was such a convenient location that we couldn’t resist. The chain of cafes has an agenda of pumping the most up-to-date, trendy music into its customers ears, which I’m all for. The last song had just ended and then as the dark and sly drums of “Stay Away” (the first track I’d ever hear by her) crept into my ears, I was hooked on the sound. I found myself not wanting the song to go off; the chorus was sighing “do you remember what I said, the last time we met, stay away, why can’t you stay away.”

 True Romance is Charli’s debut album; previously she’s released various singles that are also included on the LP. Two mixtapes and one Ep made up her discography, in the U.S. at least, before mid 2013 when True Romance was released. One of the most hip artists I know to date, Charlotte Aitchison rolls with a distinct crew of musicians, fashion designers and internet personalities that keep their scene up to date with youth pop culture. There couldn’t be an artist I’d like to identify more with, in the areas of style, taste and musical abilities. The album itself has 13 tracks, 8 of which are new and have never been released previously. The other 5 are various tracks that had been put out over the one year span of time in which she had to wait for clearance to release True Romance. It was previously scheduled to come out in April of 2012, but for unexplained reasons, this year’s earlier release date was canceled. The singles and music videos released in the year of waiting up till now were more than enough to skyrocket Charli to success in the underground indie music community of her native England, as well as the rest of the online world.

The track: Cloud Aura features friend and  L.A.-based rapper, Brooke Candy, which helped bridge the gap between Candy’s rap fans and Aitchison’s Dark Pop/Rave followers. The track is a call out of lovers doing the two singers wrong; utilizing Candy’s acidic and sensual rapping to put the song in a nook occupied by mostly American R&B. Another standout track is “You(hahaha) which samples an ultra popular Gold Panda song. The video was slightly controversial, being that it features Charli and a gang of hip raver chicks, dancing and partying in a gun factory. The video was released at around the same time that gun law disputes were taking place in the U.S., which is why she received flack about it. The song is quite good, and does some interesting things with the Gold Panda loop.

 The online community, consisting of the bloggers and trend setters of our current culture, helped to lay the pavement for the True Romance project. It is in a sense the ultimate combination of songs that feature influences ranging from The Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Aaliyah and other superstars of the past and now in pop and R&B. Her sound stands out to me, among other indie electronic/pop artists in the indie community today. Although it is easy to compare her to an artist like Marina and The Diamonds or Grimes, each of her songs is laced with her signature cooing about love found or love lost. The other artists do the same in their own ways quite well, Grimes in a more ethereal way and Marina in a baroque-pop sort of way. Charli is neither of these things and all of those combined. You can tell that the 90s era is strong in providing her with musical and lifestyle influences. My aim is not to dissect Charli as a person, but her album’s sound. True Romance is truly an album that you can feel good listening to, and not regret choosing it for the times when you’re not feeling so good. It is a love story, one of many in the musical world. From the first track “Nuclear Seasons” to the last “Lock You Up,” you won’t feel “So Far Away” from  Charli’s tender heart.


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