Who will pay for artists’ work until then? In 2015, PJ Harvey – a fiercely private British artist – exposed the recording of her Hope Six Demolition Project to public view at London’s Somerset House, workshopping the songs behind one-way glass. Considering its short and spontaneous gestation period, “How I’m Feeling Now” is more like a collection of short stories than the novel-scale “Charli” — it’s a challenge to herself, a productive way to fend off stir-craziness during lockdown. Few artists have shared more with fans than Charli XCX. On Charli XCX’s self-described quarantine album how i’m feeling now, her field of view has never been more vast.Drawing from UK garage, trap, bubblegum pop and well-after-midnight techno, XCX’s fourth full-length interrogates, questions and opens up space within what might otherwise feel like the most claustrophobic period in many of our lives. Charli XCX review, How I’m Feeling Now: A brash, adventurous lockdown album. And despite some slightly nervous-sounding emails from her reps in recent weeks saying that advance streams would be arriving later than originally expected, sure enough, there it was in our inbox Thursday morning, 14 hours before it was scheduled to be released to the world. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. How I’m Feeling Now is simultaneously a hopeless cry and a celebration of love recorded steps away from its object, with songs like “forever,” “claws,” “7 years,” and “i finally understand” devoted to sincere, immediate romance and pleasure. Charli XCX’s “How I’m Feeling Now,” made in the past six weeks, is the sound of an artist pushing the boundaries of her music in real time. But "Forever" softens periodically throughout, offering up a sweet sentiment when Charli croons "I will always love you" over dreamy, sparkling synths. how I’m feeling now is and forever will be known as Charli XCX’s “lockdown album”, a media-fed phenomenon that she seems to be the only real evidence of. The voice memo in the bridge doesn't interrupt its momentum, but rather adds depth and intrigue. But on "Forever" that all changes when she drops wistful lines like "I know in the future, we will see each other" and "I'll love you forever, even when we're not together.". About two-thirds of the way through, a voice memo plays where you can hear the uncertainty in her voice as she explains exactly how she's feeling: "I don't fully understand it yet. Either that, or it's the kind of song Sofia Coppola would have had Emma Watson robbing celebrities to in "The Bling Ring." A night out with your friends can still be mind-altering fun, but it doesn’t need to be the driving force of your life. Unlike “Next Level Charli,” which staggered out of the gate thereby hindering the album’s energy, this latest addition to her gemstone jams sets HIFN up for success: “Gonna give you really good views” is a promise kept, as the album dives into her love life more than anything prior. It's also almost reassuring to hear someone say that "seven years flew by" when every day now feels like a month and there's no clear end in sight to our current state. Pink Diamond (“I just wanna go real hard”) is all icy drama. ‘How I’m Feeling Now’ is something of a musical time capsule, evoking the confusion that so many of us are feeling at the moment. She’d ask for feedback and adjust accordingly; show us songs in their skeletal states; and swear a lot. Larocca: For me, "Visions" gets lost amongst the rest of the tracks, which is strange considering it's the closer. Read Next: Twitch, Amazon Slammed by RIAA and Major Industry Groups for Using Unlicensed Music, Tencent Music and Indie Collective Merlin Renew Licensing Agreement (EXCLUSIVE), Twitch, Amazon Slammed by RIAA and Major Industry Groups for Using Unlicensed Music, The Weeknd, Roddy Ricch Lead 2020 American Music Awards Nominations, ’60 Minutes’ Airs Controversial Trump Interview – With Fact-Checks, Migos' Offset Detained by Police After Run-In With Trump Supporters, James Bond Film ‘No Time to Die’ Explored $600 Million Sale to Streaming Services, Borat Hilariously Defends Rudy Giuliani After Controversial Scene, Harry Styles Invests in New State-of-the-Art Manchester Arena, B.B. Fast-forward five years, and Charli XCX – fiercely public British artist Charlotte Aitchison – has released an album written, recorded, produced and art-directed in the space of a few weeks, with unprecedented levels of real-time scrutiny via social media. The current pandemic has offered an unusual peek behind the curtain, and an insight into the lock-down lifestyles of the rich and famous. Larocca: When "Forever" starts, it seems like its main goal is to bombard you with the same harsh production that never let up on "Pink Diamond." Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Larocca: You know when you're at a dying house party around 4 a.m. when most everyone's either left or asleep on the floor, and you're either mindlessly braiding your best friend's hair or snuggling into your partner in the corner? I can't think of any artist better suited to be creative in this kind of environment, and it's refreshing to hear her unspool the nuances of her relationship, rather than waxing poetic about nice cars and being drunk in the morning. Written and recorded from scratch over the past six weeks, this album is a high-voltage assault on the senses. Even the simplistic premise of “party 4 u” takes on new meaning under the circumstances: “I only threw this party for you/For you, for you, for you.” Hey, it’s not like anybody else can come. It's definitely not a "skip," per se, I just wonder if the tracklist would've felt cleaner if it had ended on "Anthems" instead. Charli, a self-identified workaholic, forged ahead: She performed at the Minecraft music festival organized by 100 gecs and hosts a weekly video conference with appearances by famous friends. Overall, we thought Charli's two-month creative frenzy totally paid off. The world's defining voice in music and pop culture since 1952. While festival seasons and clubs are shut down indefinitely, this is the kind of song that makes you feel like you're tripping in the center of a dance floor: it's pulsing, pumping, and powerful. The British electro pop artist sings of love, loneliness, and solo partying across an album built in and made for this very moment. But there are snatches of brilliance here, and as perhaps the very first album to be produced under lockdown, it is really quite an achievement. Record label: Atlantic Records/Asylum Records. Subscribe to our daily newsletter to get more of it. I'm quite partial to the Jeremih shout-out ("Birthday Sex" is still a bop). (Skip to the end to see the only songs worth listening to and the album's final score.). Also as a Gemini, it's very refreshing to hear the phrase "I like, I like, I like everything about you" in almost the same breath as praise for an astrological sign that famously has the worst rep on the internet. But Charli makes a lot of sense here, and she deserves credit as our most fully online pop star. Ahlgrim: I'm not sure we needed two hardcore rave songs back-to-back, and I'd pick "Anthems" over "Visions" given the choice. A gentle reminder that time is a construct, and this too shall pass. And what does one of the world’s top pop innovators have to show for her 38 days of work? Over the past 10 years, XCX has developed a sort of “one for me, one of them” attitude to popstardom, dancing on the edge of mainstream one moment (“Boom Clap”, “Fancy”, “1999”, her Christine and the Queens collaboration “Gone”) and plunging underground the next, as she did in 2017 with cult mixtapes Number 1 Angel and Pop 2. Nothing else sounds like the music Charli is making, and she deserves the kind of mainstream success and praise that we've seen heaped upon greener, genre-defying artists — all of whom have benefited from her fearless experimentation, whether they realize it or not. Opener ‘Pink Diamond’ is an effervescent cut reminiscent of 2016 EP ‘Vroom Vroom’. The 27-year-old pop star is known as a futuristic, and her glitchy production quirks are certainly still here — but her characteristic style sounds fresher than ever, thanks to a softer, more scaled-back approach and Charli's willingness to get vulnerable.
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