Charli XCX experiences commercial success with sophomore album


Eric Casey, Staff Writer

Charlotte Emma Aitchison, also known as Charli XCX, is a 22 year old pop music mastermind. Her age really doesn’t matter, it’s the talent that does. There’s been a lot of evolving in her short career span. “Sucker” is just another part of her bright journey ahead.

She was born in England, but now travels the world. Her first album “14” was released on Myspace in 2008 funded by her parents, her third album “Sucker” was released on every format funded by Atlantic Records and Neon Gold Records. She started from the bottom…and well…you know.

After releasing her first album at age 14, if that actually counts as her first album, she then took a long break. She came back to the recording life around 2010/2011 to record her second album titled “True Romance” which got pretty good reviews upon it’s release. It solidified her as some sort of Princess of Goth Pop, at least in my opinion!

The album was pretty straightforward with a tone of an electropop feel throughout. Her songs echoed of previous heartache just like any other generic pop singer.

However, with her dark tones and “witch house” vibes in the songs you can actually feel and get something out of the album. Between 2011 and 2013 she had toured with the likes of the Ting Tings, Ellie Goulding and Marina and the Diamonds.

Charli had one minor hit with the 2013 song “SuperLove” which peaked at #62 on the UK Singles Chart. The album surprisingly only peaked at #85 on the UK Albums Chart. Charli slowly started building up some kind of cult following. However, it wasn’t until she penned the lyrics for Icona Pop’s song “I Love It” which features her on backing vocals. The sleeper hit of 2012/2013 reached #1 in the UK and #7 in the USA while also climbing the Top 10 in many other countries.

Last summer she rose to greater fame by being featured on Iggy Azalea’s smash hit “Fancy.” That song would rule the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks. Charli’s retro ’80s sounding “Boom Clap” would be her first solo Top 10 hit in the states as it peaked at #8. It was the first single released from “The Fault in Our Stars” soundtrack which gave it a driving force.

In December her third album “Sucker” was released in the states. It debuted at #28 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart selling nearly 29,000 copies in its first week. It is premature to see if this album will prove to be a success or not. It depends if “Break the Rules”, the second single, can perform well. It has only peaked at #91 on the Hot 100 and #27 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart. She has also released a third single titled “Doing It” featuring Rita Ora.

Her new album dabbles in pop punk and punk rock, while still keeping that mysterious dark personality. In a recent magazine interview she mentioned that she wrote the album for girls and wanted to give them a “sense of empowerment.” The “middle fingers in the air like you just don’t care” attitude seems to be paying off. It gives her an edge for sure. It’s like the ultimate anti-music industry record.

Speaking of anti-industry, she didn’t seem to be the kind of artist who would have been appearing on every talk show and singing competition just two years ago. She seemed very private in a Fiona Apple or Jake Bugg kind of way. However, her recent public appearances seem to prove she has changed her ways and is now embracing the recent popularity.

For instance, the main chorus “Well, f-you!, sucker!” from the opening track “Sucker” is definitely for the haters who doubted her from the beginning. The song is probably the greatest opening track on a pop album ever. “Break the Rules” contains lyrics you can’t help relating to. “Going to the discotheque, getting high and getting wrecked, I don’t wanna go to school / I just wanna break the rules!”

“London Queen” is very much ’80s punk sprinkled with some new wave on top. “Breaking Up” is a fun short song with a very vintage looking music video that feels like 1950s meets 2015. “Gold Coins” and “Doing It” are not so much in your face like the opening tracks, but still very nice. “Body of My Own” picks up with another catchy chorus. “Cause I’m gone, so high / got my darkness, I’m into myself, don’t need you.”

“Famous” is a typical “night out with the girl friend causing havoc” song. “Weren’t invited but we’re feelin’ so outrageous, just like we’re famous.” “Hanging Around” has a groovy classic pop rock sound influence in there. The last three tracks sound like leftovers from her second album, and should have been left off this album. Aside from that, this is one of the best pop albums made in the past ten years. Truly a future classic! I give it 4 ½ stars out of 5.