An album centered around the inner turmoil of a pop star, Charli XCX wails in pain and scorches her past lovers with electric synths and auto-tune, making it feel like you just witnessed a scene straight from the album’s cover art: the singer pressed against a crashed car, blood dripping down her body.
Overall, this album is a masterpiece, and it’s crucial to dive into the 12 tracks it's comprised of, so here’s a ranking of the “CRASH” tracklist:
1. “Good Ones”
The epitome of “CRASH” is this song, with a catchy hook and tempo reminiscent of a 1980s cardio workout. “I always let the good ones go” sees the singer admit to her failed love affairs, yet not drowning in her sorrows, as the track is a confident array of XCX’s vocal abilities, as well as her conceptual genius. While “Good Ones” could have easily been a sob story, Charli XCX instead makes a story about heartbreak feel like you’re watching the protagonist in a movie rise up from the ashes, even if their former relationship left a few scars, hence why the music video for this track is also equally as impressive.
“Baby” sees Charli XCX playing with sounds of the early 2000s, with a sound similar to Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” With a string quartet opening the track, the singer has found herself entranced by another person, desperate to be theirs. Containing another memorable chorus and moving at a fast pace, you’ll easily want to get up and strut to this song. This song is ranked this high because simply of how iconic it is, even if there’s a lack of lyrical variety. Yet, what makes up for that is the energy XCX brings to the song, producing a work that is unlike any pop song out there currently.
Charli XCX channels the 1980s again with “Lightning,” adding in extra layers of production to transport listeners into a thunderstorm. The song builds up at the beginning with just XCX’s voice, which is layered to sound like a robot, and then explodes as she sings, “You struck me down like lightning.” While the song copies what many artists have been doing lately by incorporating an old-time feel, XCX mixes her electronic-pop style seen in her previous albums such as “Charli” and “Pop 2” with current pop sounds to make a track sting within the first listen, but after a few times, is relatable and the perfect song about falling in love.
4. “Constant Repeat”
“Constant Repeat” is a sensuous track, one that sees Charli XCX embrace her femininity and move on from a previous relationship. The introduction to the song sounds like you’re entering a club at its peak hour, searching for the hopes of someone new. "I’m focused on you / You’re all on me too / I’m cute and I’m rude / And you like what I do” proves that the singer is confident in her appearance, not letting anyone intimidate her. All in all, this song is ranked so high because of the magic it holds and how easy it is to get swept away in its storyline, intentionally placed early on in the album by the singer.
This song is simply ideal for when someone gives you the “ick.” Charli XCX sings of being grossed out by a potential suitor who is overly affectionate and sick of receiving gifts and compliments. Instead, she just wants physical affection, which all women yearn for at some point in their lives, and grows impatient throughout the song waiting for it. “Yuck / Now you got me blushin’ / Cheeks so red when the blood starts rushin’” exemplifies the embarrassment one feels when all eyes are on them, and “Yuck” is a great song to play if a person is bothering you and you want it to stop.
6. “Move Me”
After the first few songs of “CRASH” are bombastic and in your face, “Move Me” is a turning point in the album, XCX reflecting on letting go of her past relationship to pursue someone new. “I already know I'm letting go of something sacred / Drive us off the road, I take a good thing and I break it / Think it's it my soul / The way I run from something real” symbolizes the doubt of moving on, but the song overall is a vulnerable display of the singer’s new feelings for someone else, starting a new chapter in her life.
7. “New Shapes (feat. Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek)”
This star-studded collaboration is another significant track on “CRASH,” but gets lost as it’s the second song on the album. However, Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek compliment Charli XCX’s vocals on this song, proving that the trio works well together to make a pretty good pop song. A song about female empowerment, hence the lyrics, “What you want / I ain’t got it,” it causes listeners to feel inspired and powerful, the overall undertone of “CRASH.”
Just like the album’s title, “Crash” is the first song to kick it off, a flawless intro that puts listeners in a speed chase between XCX and an ex lover. “I’m about to crash into the water / Gonna take you with me / I’m high voltage, self-destructive / End it all so legendary” is where the singer openly states her flaws, not usually part of XCX’s musical persona, as she’s famous for singing about living luxury and owning who you are. Overall, this opener ends on an impressive note, signaling the “crash” itself, allowing listeners to hypothesize that the rest of the album will explain how the singer got to this point.
9. “Used To Know Me”
While this song isn’t necessarily the worst Charli XCX song ever, it simply was overhyped before the album’s release. Sounding like a stereotypical pop song, not even attempting to experiment with its sound unlike the tracks previously mentioned, it just isn’t the singer’s best. It definitely had the potential to be something better, but it’s still a song you can dance to and revel in getting revenge with. Sadly, “Used To Know Me” just doesn’t stand out on the album at all.
10. “Beg For You (feat. Rina Sawayama)”
No shade to Charli XCX or Rina Sawayama, but this collaboration just doesn’t flow with the rest of the album. It would fit way better on XCX’s self-titled album, “Charli,” and it gets lost in its lack of lyrics and repetitiveness. Although, both of their voices sound beautiful in this track, and you can tell there’s chemistry between the two. It’s also a cute little song about proving to someone how much you love them, even if you’re scared to admit it.
“Twice” ends the album on a hopeful note, yet is extremely existential. “All the things I love are gonna leave me / One day, you're never gonna be there / I tell myself to take it easy / Don't think twice about it, baby” is one of the more gut-wrenching lyrics on “CRASH,” a display of the singer’s fear of the future and growing older. Compared to the rest of the album, this song also lacks the star power that songs such as “Good Ones” and “Baby” exhibit, but at least Charli XCX tried to be more relatable and open with her fans.
12. “Every Rule”
As sad as it is to admit, “Every Rule” does not fit at all on “CRASH.” It’s too slow and too mushy-gushy. All it discusses is the singer cheating on her former partner, which causes the latter half of the album to lose a little of its steam. Even though XCX is baring her soul to listeners with this insight into her love life, the concept of the song could’ve been more cinematic like the songs before it, dramatizing a love affair in shambles after infidelity. At least, that’s what most fans were anticipating.