CLASSIC REVIEW: Charli XCX, XCX World
Charli XCX's career has been one of a kind: from being one of Tumblr's music era most known artists to being a world known popstar to being the front face of the hyperpop genre, she's built bridges between pop and experimental music. Crash marks her fifth album release under Atlantic, but it could've been different.
After meeting SOPHIE, A. G. Cook and the PC Music squad, and rebranding herself as the hyperpop star we know today with the release of her Vroom Vroom EP, Charli began exploring this newfound sound and started working on her third full length release. The SOPHIE-produced project, dubbed as XCX World, would come after Charli's mixtape, Number 1 Angel, but the messy album rollout, and bad reception from the critics added to most of the project surfacing online during August 2017 caused it to being completely scrapped, leading XCX to begin working on new projects, thus releasing the acclaimed Pop 2 and Charli.
As it leaked before any official announcement, XCX World doesn't have an official tracklist, but fans managed to create a bootleg that's the most accurate with the leaked information about the project and the songs. Being executive-produced by SOPHIE and with help from Cook, will.i.am and MNEK, Charli had the future of pop in her hands with this collection of tracks, but things didn't work in her favor.
Charli claimed this album was about partying and the night life she was living at the time, from which she had to get a break after finishing with the record (which lead to the composition of Number 1 Angel), and it shows. Tracks such as Come to My Party or Down Like Whoa showcase the best of Charli's songwriting paired with SOPHIE's most accesible (but still futuristic) pop beats. Taxi presents us one of SOPHIE's production career highlights, with a minimalistic bouncy beat that builds into an efervescent chorus with Xeon's iconic bubbly synths. But the project also includes some more personal moments: I Wanna Be With U stands out as a hidden gem, starting off as a vulnerable track where XCX confessing her wrongs to her significant other so he can forgive her, only to then explode into a powerful SOPHIE-produced breakdown.
XCX World marks a point in Charli's career: it defined her commitment to pushing pop forward despite what her label wanted from her, which was also what made Charli create what's now one of the central pieces of hyperpop, the mixtape Pop 2. If Atlantic Records would've released XCX World, Charlotte could have changed the trajectory of mainstream pop, but it's unreleased-ness ended up with her leading one of the most forward thinking musical movements of recent times.