Charli XCX‘s third album Charli has had a few days to marinate now. We’ve already delivered our initial thoughts on the triumphant album as a whole but it’s time to pick apart the record and take on the impossible task of ranking every individual song.
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15. Blame It On Your Love (Feat. Lizzo)
As a Track 10 die-hard, Blame It On Your Love was always going to be a hard concept to come around to. It’s a good song and it sounds great on the radio but the Lizzo feature feels like the least essential collaboration of the record.
14. I Don’t Wanna Know
I Don’t Wanna Know is the album’s ’80s ballad moment and while it’s a tender, simmering cut it ultimately gets lost in between two of the album’s sterling moments Silver Cross and Official.
13. February 2017 (Feat. Clairo & Yaeji)
February 2017 is one of the strangest songs on the album. It’s an emotive, bare-boned track that pulls elements from ’90s dance and dancehall. Then there’s a haunting, isolated Yaeji verse. It’s daring and beautiful but we can’t rank every track number one.
12. 1999 (Feat. Troye Sivan)
The biggest single off the album is a perky, colourful song that’s the closest thing you’ll get to conventional pop on the album. There’s no doubt it goes off live but Charli is always the most exciting when the production is a little more twisted.
11. Cross You Out (Feat. Sky Ferreira)
The album’s emo moment pulls Sky Ferreira back into the spotlight and for that it should be celebrated. It’s a dark and dense collaboration that steps more into Ferreira’s world than Charli’s.
10. 2099 (Feat. Troye Sivan)
Charli ends on imagery that’s essentially Charli and Troye speeding into the future with a Thelma & Louise-type chemistry. It’s 1999‘s left-centre cousin and it’s a liberating finale to the album.
9. Warm (Feat. Haim)
Warm essentially cleans up Click‘s mess. It immediately proceeds the album’s harshest moment and offers a shiny, slippery cure. Haim and Charli are not a collaboration we’d ever visualised by they blend together effortlessly here.
8. White Mercedes
If Charli’s concert ever needed a phone-in-the-air moment it’s White Mercedes. One of the few songs not produced by A.G. Cook, it’s a traditional pop song made exciting by Charli’s honest, vivid songwriting. Her voice rarely sounds as steadfast as it does here.
7. Silver Cross
Silver Cross is an immediate fan favourite and it’s easy to see why. It’s an accessible, sugary banger that pulls from Number 1 Angel‘s bag of tricks. The way Cook builds the intensity on this one is pure genius.
6. Next Level Charli
The Angel theme song is a good – phew. It introduces us to the album with an immediate adrenalin rush. It’s blurry, intense, energetic and self-assured, finding a level of obnoxiousness that sits somewhere between the punk of Sucker and the *nail polish emoji* cockiness of Vroom Vroom.
5. Shake It (Feat. Big Freedia, Cupcakke, Pabllo Vittar & Brooke Candy)
If you’ve been with Charli through the mixtapes you should know that a Cupcakke feature is always a highlight. It was difficult to truly be prepared for the madness of Shake It though. Charli delivers an aquatic hook which bookends whispered Cupcakke verses, a mind-bending Freedia feature and an intoxicating Pabllo Vittar inclusion. Meanwhile, the production goes hard, often sounding like it was made with every utensil in the kitchen.
4. Click (Feat. Kim Petras & Tommy Cash)
Petras and Cash are seasoned Charli collaborators so it’s no surprise that they sound so at home on Click. It’s going to be a tour highlight because it’s a quintessential party track. Her fast-fire bridge is a songwriting highlight of the album and Petras’ verse goes off – so off that Charli had to re-record her part after hearing it. Let’s also be thankful that we have a popstar who is willing to fuck it up as much as the end of this song does.
Thoughts is one of the most vulnerable moments on the album. It’s a hazy, anxious cut that pulls us into Charli’s head more than ever before. The synths rush rush recklessly as Charli’s voice becomes an instrument piercing in her highest register. “Are my friends really friends now,” is a poignant depiction of self-doubt.
Official is Charli‘s most beautiful song. The luscious, drinkable production is some of the most serene she’s ever sung over and she compliments it with lyrical moments of clarity. Charli has plenty of moments of confusion and self-doubt but for three-minutes here it’s so simple.
1. Gone (Feat. Christine & The Queens)
A true shining moment in Charli’s career so far. Gone packs a harder punch than any song this year tackling social anxiety like it can both overwhelm and be overcame. Charli and Christine join forces for more than just a paint-by-number collaboration, demonstrating true companionship. It makes Gone all the more powerful – two friends fighting for their own peace and finding strength in each other in the process.