The 200 Best Songs Of The 2010s

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When this decade began, MP3s still reigned supreme. Now, at the end of it, a song is no longer even a file — it’s ephemera, on every streaming service and available to hear in myriad ways. For better and worse, the song (and the single) have become the norm for the general public’s music consumption. More »

The 100 Best Albums Of The 2010s

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The 100 Best Albums Of The 2010sA decade is an arbitrary measurement. They seem confined, these neat little symmetrical 10-year runs, but it’s only in hindsight that we define them, that their signifiers and trends and shorthand become codified. In reality, there are bleeds, the timbre and events of one chunk of time sliding over the border into another. If you’re … More »

Charli XCX Addresses Faux Controversy Over Meet-And-Greet Requests

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Charli XCX has been hosting meet-and-greets for fans at shows on her tour in support of her new album Charli. Along the way, she’s been asked to sign or pose with some non-traditional items, including the ashes of someone’s dead mom and, more recently, a douche. Tweets featuring those … More »

Charli XCX does first-ever worthwhile pivot to video, shares trailer for new Netflix series I’m With the Band: Nasty Cherry

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With seeminglyeverynewrelease, Charli XCX recaptures the Pop Music World Championship and re-molds it in her own futuristic image (John Cena spinner-belt-style, but without getting tiresome).

But now, Charli has her sights set on a new frontier: very popular streaming services that love overpaying for the rights to TV shows from the 90s. I’m With The Band: Nasty Cherry is a new Netflix series, documenting the band that Charli is with, Nasty Cherry.

Charli helped to form Nasty Cherry, signed them to her Vroom Vroom Recordings label, has done some co-writing with them, and is both featured in and served as an Executive Producer for the series. The actual band members are Chloe Chaidez of the band Kitten, Georgia Somary of set designing for movies like The Last Jedi, Deborah Knox-Hewson of drumming for Charli XCX, and Gabbriette Bechtel of being a model.

Based on the trailer, the series’ aim seems to be covering the formation of the band and their attempts to find “success” in the “industry” during a time where you can really only rely on smoke signals and blind luck to get you anywhere: the press interviews, the endless shows, the cats that fart in front of you when you least suspect it. You know, all the trials and tribulations.

To get a better grasp on what to expect — and to understand why we would ever bring up farting cats on this website — watch the trailer for the series down below. I’m With The Band: Nasty Cherry is set to hit Netflix on November 15. Here’s hoping it’s the first-ever pivot to video that deserves to be celebrated.

Watch: Charli XCX – “White Mercedes”

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          |______EARTH ARTIFACTS MUSEUM________|
        ___________________
       / /~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  |
   () / /_________________ |()           ___________
   /---------------------------         //          
  / /======|=D=O=D=G=E=|======      []//____________[]
  _____________________________/     /------------------
      _______ 1970  _______   /      |[==] MERCEDES [==]|
   |_/|__|__|_____/|__|__|_/|      |_______2019_______|
   |      |`V` `---' 'V'|      |       | |    """" o  | |
   |______|             |______|       |_|            |_|

"As you kids can see, Charli XCX created the Mercedes-Benz® automobile 80 years ago with her song 'White Mercedes.' Our lives were changed forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and evr and ernaf ande evekljadfnerlkaj lkds;jfoewu!!!!!!!!"
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Charli XCX – “White Mercedes” Video

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Charli-XCX-White-Mercedes-videoCharli XCX has been making great videos since she first showed up in the public eye in this decade’s early days. Today, she’s released what, at least on first watch, feels like her best one. It’s also one of the year’s best videos. More »

Nina Kraviz takes on Charli XCX and Christine and The Queens in new ‘Happy Mix’

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Nina Kraviz takes on Charli XCX and Christine and The Queens in new ‘Happy Mix’NinaKraviz Pyramid Sun MVMT18 Bryan Mitchell 240

The latest in bold musicianship from Nina Kraviz is her take on “Gone,” the sharp synthpop single from Charli XCX and Christine and The Queens. Her “Happy Mix” flips “Gone” into a futuristic house tune built to churn the dancefloor. Vocals from the original float over a subtle, yet vibrant low-end, accompanied by ethereal synth riffs—an entrancing mixture that stands out while managing to emulate the emotional signature of the piece it re-works. Listen for this one lighting up her sets to come.

Nina’s remix to “Gone” is the first of a broader series that will be released on October 11 on Asylum Records. The package will include remixes to cuts by Clarence Clarity, Devault, and The Wild. These all continue a recent remix streak by Kraviz, which has also seen her providing her interpretation on pieces by Marie Davidson and Franz Ferdinand.

Photo credit: Bryan Mitchell

Music Review: Charli XCX – Charli

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Charli XCX

Charli

[Atlantic/Asylum; 2019]

Rating: 4/5

You are so important to pop music, angel. You’re the one. You ask its questions in your heart; it tells you it’s OK. You believe that it understands you well, and it writes you into itself. You listen for the feeling of belonging, every voice in one room singing every other word, and it points the mic in your direction. You turn it up and obliterate yourself from the inside out, reestablishing somewhere the good in there: it’s Charli. And she’s not you. She’s literally the best pop star ever, angel, Pluto, Neptune, future —

If, like me, your faith in Charli itself wavered, you are forgiven and I hope relieved. Maybe because of the delays, I let anxiety put the anti in my anticipation, where my faulty precognition decided that Charli would be the lower non-harmony to Pop 2 and Number 1 Angel. Because it’s a proper finale to that mixtape trilogy, maybe you were afraid it wouldn’t be her vision, the way True Romance seemed only to get some of Earthquakes and Heartbreaks and Super Ultra. Maybe I worried about it because the new lead single was squeaky like platinum, despite the fact that “Blame It On Your Love” is exactly the 3D-re-release of “Track 10” I’m here for. Or that the official lack of SOPHIE meant a total reinvention, although both of them have leaked and lived and learned since VROOM VROOM gave angels wings.

That’s right, I was worried about Charli selling out, as if she doesn’t still perform global pop sensation “I Don’t Care” as an encore, where angels DON’T CARE and, in fact, LOVE IT. As if she’s any less accomplished on one stage than the other. It’s the problem with a narrativization that tracks her machinic early career as something redeemed by the novelty of her partnership with A. G. Cook and SOPHIE, the notion that her really-real-hyperreal-label-autre-anti-auteurism could be undone by a return to something more major. Charli is major, but Charli can’t not collaborate, she can’t not, “ə-ə-ə-ə-XCX.”

Inasmuch as pop music means Carly Rae Jepsen, I believe it’s supposed to save our souls and reunite us with unity, not the ecstasy of forgetting or the ecstasy of remembering, but the act of singing. She sings, “I promise I won’t let you go.” What if Charli can’t save us? Then nothing can, except for this necessary fantasy, which is the holistic and ekphrastic promise of Charli: Harmony as unison. Charli has a generous collaborative ethic, and this makes her music mutant, her features creatures, each blooming and bending the walls around them like Neo, turning a track into an exquisite corpse (weekend at Charli’s). Brand dilution realized as a party for 12, an unashamed transparency that prefigures solidarity and — being optimistic — the future of pop.

If the kayfabe of pop is identity, then Charli’s move is to render herself incomplete or obsolete. And then to cube every voice through Charli, every contributing artist inspired by each other and by herself. She meets them where they are, and they’re all so out of this world that it makes something as immediate as her “Gone” duet with Christine and The Queens conjure the call between deeps (ə-ə-ə-ə-XCX). They ask, “Why do we love?” In harmony as unity. After songwriting summits and endless features, she’s come by it honestly, a singularity of purpose. Less idle idol worship, more file-sharing. A host, the album speaks to her faith in community (and her faith in partying!).

It’s a party album, which means it’s utopian. It’s a solo album, which means it’s rebooting. “Next Level Charli” doesn’t sound like a version we’ve never heard before; it sounds like the very same, not even accelerated but integrated, at 100% synchronization rate, running up that hill, channeling the non-stop spirit of “3 Peat,” of self-confidence through self-refinement, modeling, yes, this is what it sounds like to keep going, to keep growing. That includes when you have to “put your hands up and scream,” or dance, or just drive. “Vroom Vroom,” if that outro’s Heaven was Real, was a highway, where the billboards advertise the “on and on and on and on and.” This is the suggestive power of the self-title, maybe, or the facts: now, Charli sounds more completely reunited with Charli. She begins: “I never look back” (“Next Level Charli”)… “I just wanna go back” (“1999”). Every era, every mixtape, she’s bending toward herself. It clicks: She went pop, she believes in beauty (“Beautiful”).

Beauty is bump in the rave. After watching the “Gone” video more than once, I found myself moving my body like that, you know, fully committed. Where “Click” and “Shake It” need no more than one listen to elicit goosebumps and dropped jaws and shaking and screaming, some of the featureless tracks burrow (I touch the mirror of “Silver Cross,” it goes down my throat, cold). I see the light through the window coming in with the chorus I sing in the shower (“White Mercedes”), we slow-dance in the kitchen with tears in your eyes (“Official”), and then sweat slides between our shoulders jumping up and down. I’m not listening alone, so she’s not recording alone. You’re so important to pop music.

Is it cold in the water? Are you waiting for a good time? What was once non-stop comes full-stop. When the “2099” jetski engines stop roaring, it’s a cable sign-off sine wave she rides into the SMPTE horizon, the last sound we hear belonging to a test pattern by which you can measure your color settings. Charli sets a standard, with room for input, for adjustment, for putting faith in the sum, in partnership, in yourself, in parties, in pop. Across the waves, she reaches out to her new listeners calling a familiar name, “It’s Charli/ It’s Charli, baby,” singing a Next Level perfect song: true love will find you in the end, blue and pink like the sky, the change that lasts forever and ever and

Watch Charli XCX & Jimmy Fallon Mash Up Depeche Mode & Icona Pop

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Charli-XCX-and-Jimmy-FallonJimmy Fallon does a lot of irritating things, but there is at least one thing that he still does extremely well: The note-perfect impression of the bygone-era rock star. Some of Fallon’s impressions — Barry Gibb, Mick Jagger, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen — are the stuff of legends. And it turns out that he does … More »

Don’t Take Tove Lo For Granted

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Tove LoOne of the best Onion articles ever is headlined like so: “Marilyn Manson Now Going Door-To-Door Trying To Shock People.” This was early 2001, more than a year after Manson became a scapegoat for the Columbine massacre and still several months ahead of 9/11. Despite a disputed election that introduced everyone to the … More »