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Charli XCX - Brat (Album Review)

Monday, 10 June 2024 Written by Will Marshall

Sometimes, reaching your stated goal is just the start. After 2022’s ‘Crash’ catapulted Charli XCX from cult figure to bona fide mainstream star, the ensuing ‘Brat’ is not just a reaction to its far more accessible predecessor but also an emphatic re-embracing of the pop auteur’s club roots.

Visually, it’s also a rejection of the notion that women in pop must always use their face and body as marketing tools — its simple neon green sleeve is emblazoned only with the title in a low-res font. Interestingly, this era has also brought about retrofits of her past work, with earlier records now appearing on streaming services with ‘Brat’-style anti-covers.

Opening the album, Charli offers a whiplash-inducing tour of extremes. 360 is the sort of floor-filler hyperpop she has always excelled at, with a minimalist synth line underpinning everything. 

But Club Classics switches that out for a propulsive dance beat and warped repetition of vocal lines. It’s a bewildering salvo, with the two songs seemingly miles apart but tied together by their singular creator. 

I Might Say Something Stupid is the first hint, if one was needed, that this isn’t just an album chock full of club bangers — its heavily AutoTuned vocals sit on a slightly-distorted piano as Charli appears to unpick her insecurities.

That lyrical throughline carries ‘Brat’ and elevates it. As brilliant as the raucous Von Dutch is, with its pulsing bassline and scream-along chorus, it’s the track’s pointed examination of jealousy that makes it shine. I Think About It All the Time, meanwhile, is a show-stopping deep dive into Charli’s own feelings about societal expectations of having children versus her career. 

365 — a remix of 360 — closes out the album proper in a full-circle moment. At 15 tracks, there’s a lot to unpack and it takes a while for synapses to stop fizzing. Ultimately, that’s the whole point. ‘Brat’ is another remarkable entry in the Charli XCX canon. 

Charli XCX Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri June 07 2024 - LONDON HERE at Outernet
Wed November 27 2024 - MANCHESTER Co Op Live
Thu November 28 2024 - LONDON O2 Arena
Fri November 29 2024 - BIRMINGHAM Resorts World Arena
Mon December 02 2024 - GLASGOW OVO Hydro

Compare & Buy Charli XCX Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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