July 4, 2022

The worst offenders of anonymizing Charli’s sound are the songs that pull too liberally from different sources. There are two distinguished samples on the album — “Beg For You” borrows the melody and refrain from September’s 2006 membership jam “Cry For You” and “Used To Know Me” makes use of the acquainted backbeat from Robin S.’s “Present Me Love” — and there’s one music, “Good Ones,” that may as properly be lifted from “Candy Desires (Are Made Of This).” These tracks don’t do a lot to raise their unique materials, they usually veer too near karaoke. Crash has some higher examples of the retro sound that Charli goes for — the sweaty, sexed-up single “Child” is a grower, and “Yuck” is over-the-top nostalgic in a goofily winking approach — however too many of those tracks merely sound like songs that exist already quite than recent concepts.

Crash is extra comfy, and extra profitable, when Charli is making music within the vein of her 2019 self-titled and her mixtapes. The album begins on a promising be aware with its title observe, a fab layer-cake of processed vocals that may be a rubbernecker’s delight: “I’m about to crash into the water, gonna take you with me/ I’m excessive voltage, self-destructive, finish all of it so legendary.” And when you get previous the early batch of singles, Crash opens up into a greater variety of sounds that has some particular highlights: There’s the darkly romantic, electrifying “Lightning,” the shattered-glass pulse of “Transfer Me.” Final-minute single “Each Rule” feels like a religious sequel to Charli‘s “Official,” a rubbery robotic slideshow of a disintegrating relationship. These are all pleasurable, but it surely’s stuff we’ve heard from Charli earlier than, and in higher iterations.

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I don’t need Charli to be caught making hyperpop-adjacent music for the remainder of her life — and it’s clear from True Romance and the remainder of her earlier materials that she doesn’t must be — however Crash is the primary Charli album in a protracted whereas that feels inessential and doesn’t reside as much as her excessive commonplace. Charli has insisted that that is her most cohesive album, but it surely really feels like her most scattered, caught between the pull of the previous and the promise of the longer term. That has the impact of diluting each her retro pastiche and the futuristic materials that has develop into her signature sound. Possibly that’s the entire level of Crash — a conceptual undertaking and cautionary story about what occurs whenever you let commerce develop into an excessive amount of part of your artwork. However I want she might have discovered a approach to do this and in addition make an album that was much less underwhelming.

CRASH is out 3/18 through Atlantic/Asylum.