Music Review: Charli XCX creates pop perfection with ‘Crash’

David Rafael Gonzalez
LV Life Editor

With clear 1980s and early 2000s influences, Charli XCX proves that she is one of the main pop girls and a veteran songwriter with her sell-out album “Crash,” released on March 18.

“Crash” is her fifth studio album and her last record with Atlantic Records, which she has been critical of in the past and she made it clear throughout the album.

While the title and opening track “Crash,” is nothing special compared to the rest of the album, it perfectly sets up the tone and meaning of the album with sex, love and power at the forefront. The album as a whole is a step away from Charli XCX’s usual hyperpop fantasy, but there are still some influences of her hyperpop style with her distorted, glitchy vocals and production in the song “Crash.”

The second single for the album, “New Shapes,” had very clear 1980s pop girl group influences, made apparent with the heavy synth reminiscent of that era. The song features Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek, who like Charli XCX, also do pop by their own rules. Each artist shows their own musical style with Caroline Polacheck’s dance-in-your-bedroom vibes and Christine and the Queens’ slower, artistic style. 

The visuals that come with “New Shapes” music video are bright and colorful with strobing lights and a backdrop design reminiscent of a 1980s arcade floor. The artists perform group choreography while the camera switches to a filter to make it appear as if it was filmed in the 1980s.

No pop album is complete without a ballad and “Every Rule,” one of the album’s promotional singles, is an important addition to the album. The song is a clear ode to an ex who she had fun with but the relationship was just not working out despite breaking every rule for them. 

“Every Rule” keeps up with the 1980s influences, featuring a dreamy synth with auto tune accompanying Charli XCX’s tender vocals. 

While the singles of the album are obvious bangers, the deep cuts of the album are where the album shines.

No song shows how much of a sell-out Charli XCX is with the album than “Yuck.” This song is one of the album’s most radio-friendly songs. This song keeps with the album’s theme of sex and love with lyrics that follow Charli XCX falling in love.

Charli XCX has a reputation for having a perfect closing track for all of her albums and this album is no exception. “Twice” is bubblegum pop perfection with an upbeat production and vocals but with depressing lyrics. The lyrics feel like a tribute to the late transgender artist SOPHIE, who pioneered modern hyperpop music and worked closely with Charlie XCX in the past. Lyrics read “All the things I love are going to leave me. One day, you’re never gonna be there.”

Charli XCX has been open with Atlantic Records pressuring her to release an album to current pop standards and she did that in a clever and satirical way with “CRASH.” The album is full of modern pop and follows the trend of 1980s and early 2000s influences. Many of the songs feature clear sampling from those eras, especially “Used To Know Me,” which is a shallow pop song sampling Robin S’s “Show Me Love,” and “Beg For You,” featuring Rina Sawayama and samples September’s “Cry For You.”

Though most of today’s music feels like it is filled with longer songs and albums, this album is only a little under 34 minutes. The runtime makes it clear that the album is meant to be consumed and dismissed like most modern pop albums, and it is done in a refreshing way.

Charli XCX is set to release a deluxe version of the album soon.

David Rafael Gonzalez can be reached at

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David Rafael Gonzalez is a senior journalism major and LV Life editor of the Campus Times. He has been a three-time editor-in-chief and has also served as editorial director, LV Life editor and a staff writer.


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