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New Music: Charli XCX

By Gurman Sahota, March 21 2017 —

To some, a 10-track release warrants the designation of an “album,” but for Charli XCX, her newest release is a mixtape — an amuse-bouche before the release of her third album. The work lacks the sense of disjointedness that often comes with mixtapes trying to woo potential labels with a variety of songs. Instead Charli XCX knows her sound and goes with it. With that said, there is no real distinction between most of the tracks — it’s a 37-minute synth-pop dream. ENT_CharlieXCX

Compared to her more popular hits like “Boom Clap” or “I Love It” with Icona Pop, Number 1 Angel isn’t exactly one for throwing “your shit into a bag and pushing it down the stairs.” It’s more of a tender ode to what has inspired Charli XCX in the three years since her last release.

The mixtape grows more infectious in the middle. As the collection draws to a close, the tempo slows and Charli XCX experiments with voice and sound. Where the beginning of the mixtape is sleepy and boring, the ending becomes a more interesting listen.

Perhaps the most surprising song of the release is “White Roses.” It takes the niche of electro-pop that Charli XCX carved out for herself and turns it on its head. As delicate as her synthetic sounds and overlapping lyrics can be, the song is a slow build with a simple underlying musical accompaniment. The lyrics are repetitive, but that aids in making the song stand out, becoming the  mixtape’s turning point.

If this were released as a proper album, it would have been mediocre, so I’m glad it is a mixtape. This gives listeners like myself hope for what she can come up with. This mixtape has potential, though it lacks the punch the artist is known for. Hopefully that punch’s being saved for her possible third album.

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