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Album Review

Charli XCX strives to give the pop genre a makeover with her latest mixtape, POP 2. Widely known for her guest stint in Iggy Azaela’s 2014 hit “Fancy,” as well as for her song “Boom Clap” from The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack, Charli is back with a collection of tracks that intentionally pushes the envelope when it comes to pop music stereotypes.

The 25-year-old English singer incorporates Auto-Tune, '80s synth-pop sounds and pounding bass as she sings about parties, heartbreak and all the messy stuff that comes in between. Along the way, she delivers a slightly nihilistic outlook on life, though she's also quick to admit that she “didn’t get into pop music to be a role model.”

Positive Elements

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Sexual Content

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Pro-social Content

Charli expresses a desire for a do-over of sorts in "Track 10”: “Every time you get too close, I run-a-run away/Back to the beginning, really wish that I could change.” And in “Tears” she reminisces about how love enabled her to dream.

Charli's honest about being taken advantage of in “Lucky” and asks, “Do you ever feel guilt for what you’ve done?/…Tell you I believe you, but I don’t.” In “Unlock It,” she admits she’d willingly give all her love but cautions, “If you want my heart, then don’t you drop it.” The song “Porsche” likewise confronts someone who's apparently been careless with her emotions: “Take back all your love 'cause/Fake words ain’t enough, no/Yeah, you spent my love, didn’t spend my money.”

Objectionable Content

"Track 10" also yearns for another night with a former lover, using the f-word in a sexual context to describe Charli's longing for physical intimacy. She also suggests how that dysfunctional relationship has ruined all of the romances she's had since then: “I blame it on your love/Every time I f--- it up." And on "Tears" we hear, “But I miss you so much/ … Tried to hide the lies when we touch/But in the sheets with no love.”

“Delicious” is about late-night phone sex, and the song references getting high and masturabtion. “Unlock It” unpacks similar sensual desires. Meanwhile, "Femmebot" mixes S&M themes with lesbian ones while dishing still more f-words.

Charli brags, crudely, in “I Got It” about all the physical attributes and material possessions she has as compared to other “envious hoes.” Infidelity runs free in “Lucky.” And in “Porsche,” a man only cares about his. That song also includes a reference to chardonnay.

Summary Advisory

Charli XCX’s desire for the fast lane and all that that goes with it is evident in her new mixtape. In a recent YouTube interview, she said of her music, she said the stories she tells her are based on real life¬—both hers and her friends. “I’m really inspired by … my friends … like that’s my main sort of source of inspiration because they’re the people that I like, hang out with and like cry with and party with and so that’s where I get a lot of kind of material from.”

Charli says she doesn't want to be one of the many "fake pop artists" in today's culture. She's arguably succeeded at that earnest aspiration. But to do so, she's also given us a batch of tracks here that illustrate the damage caused by unhealthy boundaries and recklessly casual sexual encounters.

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Record Label

Asylum Records




December 15, 2017

On Video

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Kristin Smith

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