October 30, 2011
Dancing in Graveyards with Charli XCX
Though only 19 years old, Charli XCX has making a name for herself in the British pop circle for years now.
After rising to underground fame as a Londontown club kid and unleashing a smattering of songs to the Internetz, the young electro-pop singer has opened for several high-profile acts, including Robyn and Peaches.
As a result, she’s made several small-but-significant splashes in the mainstream press already, including an introduction in The Guardian back in 2008 (cleverly dubbing her “The Fisher Price Fischerspooner“), a profile in Dazed Digital, and a feature within an Interview Magazine article in 2009 spotlighting the rising “Brit Pop Girls” of the time, including Little Boots and La Roux. And while her own launch has been delayed far longer than the other girls highlighted within the group, hers may be the most promising and intriguing yet.
Earlier this year, Charli unleashed the unbelievably killer “Stay Away”–a jagged warning shot fired against grinding, gritty synthesizers that easily ranks amongst my favorite singles of 2011. “Do you remember what I said the first time that we met? Stay away,” she desperately pleads above the demented beat, crafted by American producer Ariel Rechtshaid. It’s gorgeous and haunting; the kind of song that simply can’t be played enough, and a dark, sexy slice of what both reviewers and she herself have lovingly dubbed “Goth-pop.”
Now the teenage chanteuse returns with a new song for the end of November: “Nuclear Seasons.” The song, which is available for free on her official website, plays like a darker take on the slick ’80’s revivalist pop sheen of Gwen Stefani‘s solo career (though I’m hearing a bit of No Doubt‘s “It’s My Life” in the verses as well), added to Marina + The Diamonds‘ damning, dramatic vibrato. “You taste the blast and it shook your bones,” she cooly croons as she ruminates on an explosive relationship on the rocks. Don’t drop bombs, baby!
Along with some of the aforementioned artists, she’s also giving me some serious Sky Ferreira vibes: She’s young, free-spirited, mysterious and fiercely rebellious (never too afraid to toe the line between outspoken and all-out bitchy, as her thoughts on Gaga and La Roux may attest). And like Ferreira, she’s responsible for more than a few pop ditties that utterly slay everything else playing on the radio today.
In short, I’m a big fan of Charli XCX.
Though there’s still not too many tunes floating around by the young London-bred singer just yet, she’s quickly become one of my latest obsessions–and certainly one of my most anticipated acts for 2012. Watch for her debut to hit in 2012, which features more production by Rechtshaid, as well as “Dancing On My Own” producer Patrik Berger, and Teddybears member (and older brother to fellow Robyn hit maker, Klas Åhlund), Joakim Åhlund.
(Oh, yeah–and the XCX stands for “Kiss Charli Kiss,” which the singer herself calls “unbelievably crap.”)
“Stay Away” was released on May 15. (iTunes UK)