Friday, March 4, 2016

Vroom Vroom | Charli XCX

After vacationing on radio airwaves courtesy of two American hits in 2014, it looks like Charli XCX has no problem retreating back to her position as a viral oddity -- as she proves on her new extended play, Vroom Vroom, a collaborative effort with electronic producer Sophie.

Coming off of Sucker, a flat 40-minute set through which XCX portrayed herself as a ironic rocker reincarnate of mid-2000s P!nk or Avril Lavigne circa 2001, this extended play is loud. It's intrusive. It's strange. It's obnoxious. However, with its bellowing beats, meddling electronic samples, and tryhard sing-rapping and shouting, it's unapologetic in its qualities -- and  it somehow becomes enjoyable thanks to its production work and sassy delivery.

Having grown to be neither subtle nor charming, Charli XCX's lyricism has hit an all-time low -- now suitable for solo car karaoke sessions and white girls' drunken chants in the club rather than for self-pitying break-up Facebook statuses and Tumblr users' arm tattoos. She's young, wild, and free (you're dancing circles around me), and she's ready to fuck you up, steal your crown, and take your trophy. You slugs are too slow to catch up with her cute, sexy, sporty Lamborghini (you better work, bitch). Getting on all fours like an animal, she breaks all the rules for her dirty little secret. She just wants to be a bad bitch, m'kay?

The greatness comes in, once again, with the delivery of this foolishness over twisted club productions. A repeating Uma Thurman sample and rough, speaker-blasting beats help "Trophy" keeps its pace while XCX rambles through her bad girl spiel, while "Secret" is, simply put, a gritty banger. The title track, while enjoyable in its own right, takes so many turns that it seems like three separate songs pasted together, but only "Paradise," a disaster of a track with vocals pitch-shifted to the max and a collision of far too many extraneous samples, becomes a bothersome listen.

Listening to this extended play is what I imagine taking a ride in the sports car from its tacky cover art is like: fast, unpredictable, loud, a nuisance to others around me... and somewhat fun. Rather than try to construct a meaning from it all (because there really isn't one), sit back and enjoy the ride.

Vroom Vroom is available now under Charli XCX's own Vroom Vroom Recordings.

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