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(Photo provided via @charlie_xcx on Instagram)

Album Review: 'CRASH' is Charli XCX at her most self-destructive, seductive

Charli XCX has never been the pop singer the music industry has wanted her to be. In an interview with Apple Music, XCX said, “Right now, I’m still very much restless because I know that I would be an excellent humongous pop star. But I also unfortunately know that there’s a vision of who I am in the mainstream’s mind.”

With electronic synths, vocals drowned in auto-tune and club anthems, the singer has always stayed true to being the life of the party, but on her own terms. Now, she’s back to redeem herself from her pop years of “Boom Clap” and “I Love It” with CRASH

After creating the emotionally raw and detailed how i’m feeling now all by herself in 2020, when the pandemic caused all artists to lay low, XCX has become a new version of herself. This album is the singer at her most confident and brutally honest, admitting to her failed relationship and the heartbreak that resulted from it.

The sentiments within CRASH may just be what XCX says later in her interview, “While I’m a defiant person, I’m also a human, and sometimes I do just want to be accepted, and I don’t understand why I’m not totally - even though sometimes I relish in the fact that I’m not.”

It’s obvious that Charli is trying to prove herself on this record, especially with her lyrics and visuals. The cover art for the album is the singer sporting a black bikini with streaks of blood running down her face, putting an emphasis on its title. 

Lyrics like “I’m high voltage, self destructive / End it all so legendary” from the opening track “Crash” and “Do you even know / The reasons why you had to let me go?”on “Constant Repeat” alludes to XCX’s questions about her self worth, masking her insecurities with production that imitates a drag race that is bound to end in chaos. Yet, the two tracks showcase the fire within the singer, her British tongue on full display. 

Meanwhile, songs like “Good Ones” and “Baby” are a sensual side of XCX, as she fully transforms into a pop persona, forwardly saying that she is a powerful, attractive and driven woman. 

All in all, CRASH is a euphoric high before your true emotions crash down on you; the release of energy that results in catastrophe. Here are some of the tracks that listeners must hear from CRASH:


The opening track is the energy needed to keep the album going as XCX sings of how destructive she can be as a lover. While the lyrics are self-reflective and cynical, the singer masks the negative feelings towards herself with robotic production, which make it sound like you’re driving at full-speed, gripping onto your seatbelt for dear life. Overall, it’s a phenomenal way to start off the album.

“Good Ones” 

This song is pop perfection, with XCX’s confidence and sensuality on full display. “I always let the good ones go” will ring in your head far after the track is over, hinting at the fact that Charli XCX even has her regrets, especially when related to love. You could easily listen to this song driving around late at night or dancing with your friends, and while it has a sadder undertone, its pulsing synths instantly lift the mood.

“Constant Repeat”

“Constant Repeat” is a nod to XCX’s electronic pop roots, reminiscing on a past relationship that turned sour. Wondering why she’s not good enough, the singer reassures herself of these worries by telling herself she’s worthy. By the end of the song, you’ll be putting all the blame on the lover that left her, taking XCX’s side for the rest of the album.


Towards the end of CRASH, “Lightning” starts off with just XCX’s voice and little production, singing about how love can sometimes totally catch you off guard. From this perspective, XCX is finally opening about being attracted to someone, even if it is detrimental. As the song progresses, the track uses 80s-like production to make it a standout on the album. “You struck me down like lightning, lightning / My stupid heart can’t fight it, fight it” totally encapsulates how once you’re in love, you can’t resist the person who’s taken over you.


By the end of the album, XCX has integrated a 70s-like sound into her repertoire, admitting that she hates being flattered. “Yuck / Now you got me blushin’ / Cheeks so red when the blood starts rushing” is signaling the singer tired of receiving affection, or maybe just tired of showing it towards someone else. In this track, XCX only yearns for physical touch, not the ooo gooey-ness that comes with a new love.

Ranking: 5/5


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