Album Review: how i’m feeling now by Charli XCX

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Charli XCX or Charlotte Aitchison is a British singer and songwriter. While she might not be a normal name you would bring up in conversation, she has several hits and collaborated on some tracks that you might know, such as the vocals in I Love It by Icona Pop, or some of her own tracks like Boom Clap or Boys. how i’m feeling now marks Charli XCX’s fourth studio album, and it arrives less than a year since her previous album, Charli. The album itself took around six weeks to make, while asking fans and other producers for input and suggestions during production.

The first track off the album is pink diamond. It’s a quick two-minute intro track that starts out with some high pitched electronic notes. It’s an interesting track with aggressive electronic beats littered throughout. The beat is all over as it usually changes from one moment to the next. The theme of “I just wanna go real hard” is repeated throughout the entire track.

Next, we come to forever. It is similar to the first track, we have this electronic beat, that is somewhat aggressive. Once the vocals come in, it backs off a bit. According to Charli XCX, this track is about her boyfriend who was living in a different part of the United States. He eventually moved to Los Angeles in April to live with her during the quarantine. The synth during her vocals adds a nice layer, which makes her voice sound a little robotic.

claws is another short track and was also a promotional single for the album. This is another track about her boyfriend and letting him know that she can write happy songs about them. While the album keeps on with the theme of the high pitched electronic notes, this is another high energy and loveable track. This was definitely one of my favorites from the album.

7 years starts out with a layered chorus of voices to make it almost robotic sounding. The effect is reminiscent of Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek, except you know, in a less depressing way. Again, Charli decides to talk about her lover and how she really admires this person, even for all that they have been through.

According to the artist, detonate was created right before the United States went into quarantine. The track is very playful in nature with the repeated arpeggios, but she talks about how she is feeling during the quarantine. She feels like she can’t trust herself and her emotions are all over the place. I’m sure many people, including myself, have experienced mixed emotions throughout the day. At the end, she’s questioning her lover and asks if he still loves her.

The end of the last track flows into the next track titled enemy. Since her boyfriend is so close to her, Charli is wondering if her boyfriend is actually her enemy. This track is a little darker in nature compared to the last track. She really gets into how her boyfriend knows so much about her and knows what hurts her. She also included a recording of herself after a therapy session, which goes along with the message of the track.

After that, we get back to a faster-paced track titled i finally understand. It’s also a little happier in sound, especially with the piano chords. She continues to talk about her boyfriend and how the quarantine actually strengthened her relationship with him.

c2.0 is supposed to mean Click 2.0. Click was a track off of her 2019 album, Charli. It starts out with her voice pitched up, which honestly doesn’t sound the best. After a while, a distorted drum beat comes up which honestly doesn’t make the track worse, but the track just sounds like a hot mess for the first minute and a half. Eventually, Charli XCX comes back with her regular singing voice.

After that, we come to party 4 u which is also the longest track on the album, just a little under five minutes in length. This track has been around for a while since she first played it on a live set in Tokyo, and it ended up being a crowd favorite. Just like the last track, she ends up using a line as the backing beat. She repeats “party on you” which continues on for the rest of the track. There are also some bass notes which add a nice touch to the beat.

anthems is about Charli just wanting to go out during this quarantine. She reminisces about the times she was able to go out in New York, but unfortunately is unable to right now. It’s very high energy and would sound like your typical radio/party song. The backing electronic instrumentation is similar to what you would hear on the remixed version of Pursuit of Happiness by Kid Cudi.

The last track from the album is visions. Without the random notes at the beginning, the track starts out slow, with just the droning notes in the background. During the first chorus, it starts to build up, but then she just cuts it off, which is anti-climactic. However, during the second chorus, she finally builds it up and in the end, the electronic beat just lets loose. The last few minutes of the track is just a full-blown electronic outro, which would be similar to Europe’s club music scene. Honestly, this is one of the best outros to an album I have heard this year.

Overall Rating: 8/10
Favorite Tracks: forever, claws, enemy, party 4 u, visions

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