We rank every Charli XCX project
Charli XCX is one of the world’s most innovative and sonically expansive artists. From early roots in unapologetic pop music, she’s expanded her discography to some of the most experimental, universally adored music of the 2000s. From a range of cult adored mixtapes, EPs and albums, it’s fair to say her discography is one of the strongest amongst her contemporary peers. To roadmap her career so far, and to celebrate her birthday (2nd of August) we’ve decided to rank all of her projects from her debut, 2013 record ‘True Romance’ all the way to her 2020, isolation created ‘How I’m Feeling Now’.
Let this not be a hard and fast ranking, but a celebration of her incredible discography so far. Happy birthday Charli!
7. True Romance (2013)
In 2013, Charli XCX burst onto the pop scene with her debut album ‘True Romance’. The album followed some massive singles and mixtapes from Charli, solidifying her as an up and coming songwriting force. The tracklist features a range of catchy pop tracks, with emotionally intimate messaging about love.
6. Sucker (2014)
In 2014, Charli XCX released ‘Sucker’ bringing in some of the biggest commercial tracks of the decade. With it, she combined classic rock and roll tropes with an attitude packed pop intensity, redefining pop-punk in the 2010’s context. The tracklist features hits such as ‘Break The Rules’ and ‘Boom Clap’. With the record, you could tell Charli was brewing something. Underneath the clear pop intentions, lay a singer and songwriter that wasn’t afraid of ambition.
5. How I’m Feeling Now (2020)
Charli XCX was one of the first artists to create and release a record made entirely in quarantine. Titled ‘how i’m feeling now’, the record featured singles including ‘claws’, ‘i finally understand’ and ‘forever’, and distilled what many around the world were feeling with the sudden, immediate isolation from our friends and family as the pandemic took hold of the world in March, 2020. The record is great, featuring Charli’s now known futuristic pop style, with a DIY edge.
4. Charli (2019)
By her 2019 ‘Charli’ record, Charli XCX was in full force. The global leader in futuristic pop, she has placed PC Music’s production on the laps of millions across the globe. Her 2019 record solidifies this, with a range of heavy electronic and industrial production, split between ambient euphoric moments and introspective songwriting. From massive hits like ‘1999’ with Troye Sivan to fan loved B-sides, ‘Charli’ had something for everyone.
3. Number 1 Angel (2017)
Charli XCX’s ‘Number 1 Angel’ followed the release of her ‘Vroom Vroom EP’ strengthening her new positioning as a pop star away from her earlier work. The tracklist features the best moments of Charli’s illustrious discography. Grandiose unapologetic cuts ‘ILY2’ and ‘Lipgloss’ sit perfectly beside eclectic dance tracks such as ‘Roll With Me’ and industrial ballads ‘Emotional’ and ‘White Roses’.
2. Vroom Vroom EP (2016)
In 2016, Charli XCX wowed critics and totally flipped her earlier works’ sonic ethos on its head, with her ‘Vroom Vroom EP’. Entirely produced by the late great Sophie, Charli XCX took an abrasive, electronic and in your face approach to pop songwriting. On it, she juxtaposes gorgeous pads and euphoric synths with harsh, blown out drums and percussion. The project also features Charli’s best and most fan-adored track to date, ‘Vroom Vroom’. Instantly bringing it to the narrow end of this list.
1. Pop 2 (2017)
‘Pop 2’ is the magnum opus of Charli XCX’s work. Described as more of a lifestyle than a record, the album is Charli’s most universally adored, by both casual fans and also hardcore stans. On it, she perfectly balances experimentation and accessibility, introducing audiences to her own supreme taste in futuristic melodies, challenging her audience to engage with a truely out of this world tracklist. ‘Pop 2’ highlights the highest potential of what pop music can be, showcasing partying and social experiences as emotional escapes all wrapped up in a hyperreal electronic reality.
Words by Parry Tritsiniotis