Watch Charli XCX And Carly Rae Jepsen Join Forces In LA

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Charli XCX and Carly Rae Jepsen, two queens of immaculate pop music, joined forces in Los Angeles last night. Carly was one of the many guests featured on Charli’s recent mixtape Pop 2, and not coincidentally, she was also the one of the many guests featured on Charli’s Pop 2 show at the El … More »

Alice Merton Is Ruling Rock Radio. Is A Pop Crossover Next?

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Do you remember where you first heard “Royals”? Almost any guess could be correct — and not just because the song achieved the sort of ubiquity you’d expect from a #1 hit. More »

Watch Lorde Cover Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Run Away With Me”

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This is it. This is what we’ve been waiting for. This is the Stereogum singularity. While performing at the Ally Coalition Talent Show at New York’s Town Hall tonight, Lorde covered Carly Rae Jepsen. Specifically, she covered “Run Away With Me,” the spectacular opening salvo of Carly’s 2015 masterpiece E•MO•TION, and she turned it … More »

The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

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Congratulations to us all! We made it through 2017! Now we’re on to a new year, and you know what they say: New Year, Same Bullshit. Luckily we’re kicking off 2018 with some killer songs. The Stereogum staff took some much needed time off over the holidays, so our five best list this weeks … More »

The 10 Best Covers Of 2017

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Now that the year’s over, it’s time to go over a list of the 10 best covers to emerge from the various corners of the music world over the past 12 months. I mean, it’s time for a lot of things, many of which are more important, per se, and say a lot more about … More »

Music Review: Charli XCX – Pop 2

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Charli XCX

Pop 2

[Asylum; 2017]

Rating: 4/5

She wasn’t supposed to make it past 25. Charlotte Aitchison’s Charli XCX persona has never been geared toward longevity. Whether braving an apocalyptic day of reckoning on “Nuclear Seasons” or literalizing her mortality on “Die Tonight,” the Cambridge singer has long displayed a sense of fatalism in her music. On True Romance, Charli’s oncoming demise demanded romantic consummation, no matter how transitory. On Sucker, she combated encroaching death with puerile hedonism and carnal distraction. And unlike compatriots and fellow Bacchanalia frontline journalists Arctic Monkeys, whose distaste for English nightlife is so acute you might mistake them for teetotalers, Charli revels in the debauchery of the London club scene, viewing its inevitable hangover as fait accompli and, consequently, a nonissue. This is why her career never seemed likely to sustain itself; the good times were bound to kill this death-obsessed girl. But the joke’s on us: she’s still alive, and on Pop 2, Charli XCX returns for more profligacy, yet this time with a keener perspective recalibrated by the nuances of young adult maturity.

There’s a certain territoriality and arrogance in Charli naming her mixtape Pop 2, but much of her music is spent negotiating the line between admirable confidence and aggressive hauteur. Charli spent roughly half of Sucker explaining that she was too good for you — even if she’ll mete out second and third chances for the sake of comfort and familiarity — while elsewhere flaunting her superhuman tolerance to narcotics and a vast wealth that puts Croesus to shame. And so on Pop 2, we see more of the cocksureness Charli exhibits in spades, as on the escapist-affirmative “Out of My Head” (ft. Tove Lo and ALMA), as well as a self-assured autonomy on tracks like the prurient, cloying “Unlock It” (ft. Kim Petras and Jay Park).

Yet on most of these tracks, Charli XCX sounds to have abjured the truculence and grandeur that granted her notoriety on singles like “Boom Clap,” “Fancy,” and “I Love It,” with much emphasis on her guests, which include Carly Rae Jepsen, CupcakKe, Mykki Blanco, Pabllo Vittar, MØ, Dorian Electra, and more. The Caroline Polachek duet “Tears” finds the singer reckoning with her proclivity for caprice, singing “I killed our life, I’m crazy […] Door shut tight, that ain’t love, no.” In place of her trademark overconfidence, Charli delivers a comparatively unadorned performance, signaling what seems to be genuine feelings of remorse. She may not be the most convincing agent of regret, but Charli didn’t pen these songs in hopes of credence or validation. Instead, she’s singing for her own benefit, to make sense of the needless waffling and unrest in her relationships. More power to her.

In the last 40 seconds of “Delicious” (ft. Tommy Cash), the track shifts from a scrupulously produced club banger to a pristine choir. This is an apt metonym for the instrumentation and arrangements of Pop 2. With production help from the likes of SOPHIE, Life Sim, King Henry, EASYFUN, and executive producer A. G. Cook, the music vacillates between synth-powered spectral screeches and jolts and immaculate choral beds, as if to reconcile the delineation between the impersonal nature of club life, with its ephemeral hookups, and the deceptive jubilance of a real, long-term relationship. The result is mixed bag, with the album’s industrial moments more engrossing by virtue of their immediacy and the more human elements of the production turning into a slog if left alone for too long.

For better or for worse, Charli XCX is embracing maturity on her fourth mixtape. Now 25 years (and some change) old, Charlotte Aitchison looks to be relieving herself of the “born to die young” credo she’s so ardently maintained for the past few years in favor of something more stable. And though she may not find what she’s looking for anytime soon, Charli XCX, on Pop 2, is at least looking down a new path.

♫ Listen: Charli XCX – POP 2

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Listen, there’s no time: Saint Charli just dropped her new mixtape for the fourth day of Hanukkah, so just freakin listen to it okay?? And if the first track being a Charli/Carly teamup isn’t enough to get your dreidel spinning, well, sorry, there’s honestly no hope for you.

POP 2 is available to stream below via Spotify.

Stream Charli XCX Pop 2

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It’s been just about three years since Charli XCX’s last full-fledged LP, the brash and addictive Sucker. But in that time, the pop visionary and Millennial Pink enthusiast has been far from quiet, releasing a steady stream of music via EPs, singles, or mixtapes ahead of her heavily anticipated third … More »

The Top 40 Pop Songs Of 2017

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Here’s a sign of the times for you: We’re still a couple weeks away from cleaning up bottles on New Year’s Day, and year-end list season has already been in full swing for what feels like forever. The media’s annual pop-culture recap ritual progresses, how do you say, muy despacito. Lucky for you, that’s what … More »

Charli XCX announces new mixtape Pop2, and holy crap it’s out next week!?!?

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Okay now, this right here… this is news. After tweet-teasing us into reporting that there were reports that she reportedly had a new mixtape reportedly on the way, Charli XCX has now officially announced that her new mixtape is official. It’s called Pop2, and it’s out December 15 via Atlantic. Okay bye…

Wait… there’s more!?

Yes, there isn’t just a new mixtape from Charli XCX, there’s a new mixtape from Charli XCX that features the likes of ALMA, Brooke Candy, Carly Rae Jepsen, Caroline Polachek, CupcakKe, Dorian Electra, Jay Park, Kim Petras, MØ, Mykki Blanco, Pabllo Vittar, Tommy Cash, Tove Lo, those stories and Andy Rooney tonight on 60 Minutes.

OH! Also: Season 3 of The Candy Shop with Charli XCX kicks off today at 12 PM EST on Beats 1. Wow.

Check out Pop2’s tracklist, and listen to first single “Out Of My Head” — featuring the aforementioned Tove Lo and ALMA, and produced by SOPHIE and A. G. Cook — down below! Pop2 is out next f’ing week. Ahhhhhhhhh!!!

Pop2 tracklist:

01. Backseat [ft. Carly Rae Jepsen]
02. Out Of My Head [ft. Tove Lo and ALMA]
03. Lucky
04. Tears [ft. Caroline Polachek]
05. I Got It [ft. Brooke Candy, CupcakKe and Pabllo Vittar]
06. Femmebot [ft. Dorian Electra and Mykki Blanco]
07. Delicious [ft. Tommy Cash]
08. Unlock It [ft. Kim Petras and Jay Park]
09. Porsche [ft. MØ]
10. Track 10