Charli XCX
How I'm Feeling Now


4.0
excellent

Review

by gryndstone USER (17 Reviews)
May 15th, 2020 | 764 replies


Release Date: 05/15/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: party on

‘how i’m feeling now’ is intertwined with a very certain time in human history where things feel uncertain, up-in-the-air, and un-tethered. People have been separated from family, close friends, significant others. Maybe they wake up restless, drifting, depressed - over 35 million Americans have applied for unemployment in the past two months. Creatives using this time to make content about this situation, however earnest, run the risk of coming off as hackneyed and trite.

‘how i’m feeling now’ manages to be neither of these things. Because in a time where people are feeling separated and restless, Charli XCX has conjured up an album cycle with the full intent of making sure everyone felt involved.


‘how i’m feeling now’ is a quarantine album - most certainly the biggest musical project I’ve seen come out of this whole situation we find ourselves in. It was made over the course of a month with close collaborator and PC Music extraordinaire A.G. Cook. In attempting to be as transparent as possible with her creative process, Charli hosted Zoom calls with fans to workshop lyrical ideas. She played rough demos of beats Cook (and co.) had conjured up over Instagram Live. She constantly gave life updates on social media. To further the themes of fan collaboration, a music video for first single ‘forever’, featuring footage from hundreds of fans, was put together and released within a week. Fans got to vote on which single artwork they liked the best for official use. A track on her previous full length got a sequel, and a leaked fan-favorite has finally seen the light of day in the form of the effervescent ‘party 4 u’, a track that rivals her own ‘Track 10’ in using repetition to reach satisfying conclusions.


‘how i’m feeling now’ is about love, isolation, memory, trying to stay sane in the jaws of a collective cabin fever, clubbing, mental health, and self doubt among other things. Charli has been blessed enough to spend these strange times with her S/O, and appropriately a good portion of the lyrics relate to him. ‘Only threw this party for you.’ ‘Seven years it’s been you and I, always.’ ‘I’ll love you forever, even when we’re not together.’ But it is about all the other things too - things that everyone can relate to right now. C2.0 (the sequel to Click from the previous album) drops the braggadocious features and opts for reminiscing about friends who she hasn’t seen in too long. Simple lines like ‘I miss them every night, I miss them by side’ ? Charli isn’t the greatest lyricist, but that just hits different right now. The last three songs are all about partying in different contexts - one about a private party for a little someone special, one lightheartedly longing for the clubs you went to before it all went to ***, and one...Well, the lyrics of ‘visions’ aren't actually about clubbing, but its last half definitely invokes it in how it sounds.

‘how i’m feeling now’ sounds like a screwdriver obliterated the innards of a server room, and those innards along with the screwdriver were thrown into a vat of bubblegum. It is arguably Charli’s tightest work, in no small part because of A.G. Cook’s heavy involvement. Short of just one track, everything on this album flows well, sounds great, and has some kind of instrumental moment that'll catch your ear. Songs wind up and momentarily sputter out. They splice their own chorus’ or completely transform themselves. Album closer ‘visions’ is the song that does this the very best. The first half of the song is a mid-tempo build up with lyrics about seeing visions of her being with her boyfriend in the future and everything being alright. But just before the two minute mark the song completely flips itself around. The payoff isn't just a drop - it's being instantly transported to a warehouse rave. The synth line and the beat are constantly shifting for the last two minutes, twisting into something new every time one or the other changes. The whirlwind of noise, the pulsating beat, the euphoric synths - all reminiscent of a time before, and perhaps a look ahead as well. In the future everything is alright, you’re in love with your forever boyfriend-girlfriend, and you’re partying like you’ve never partied before.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Faraudo
May 15th 2020


3904 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Confirmed queen of pop. 10/10.



Pink Diamond could be a Death Grips song lmao, I'm absolutely shocked.

gryndstone
May 15th 2020


1857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pink Diamond is something else, and in a very good way

Faraudo
May 15th 2020


3904 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Getting around my fourth listen of this and it just gets better, I can't believe she made something this good from her place. And yeah, right from the get-go she drops some intense, experimental shit.

Sinternet
May 15th 2020


23962 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

insta 5 for me, there's not a single weak track and it ends with such a bang with anthems and visions



seems like the ultimate realisation of her pop-centric sensibilities condensed into a ridiculously replayable package

Digging: Crowning - Survival?/?Sickness

parksungjoon
May 15th 2020


28226 Comments


cool review

Digging: The Sisters of Mercy - Temple of Love / Heartland

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
May 15th 2020


23682 Comments


Is this better than Dua Lipa's?

Asking for a friend.

Digging: Lost Horizons - In Quiet Moments

Faraudo
May 15th 2020


3904 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I loved Dua Lipa's record, but this is miles above. And well, it's very different.

tyman128
Contributing Reviewer
May 15th 2020


2342 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gonna have to give this a few more listens, but I really enjoyed this on first listen

Digging: Jetty Bones - Push Back

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
May 15th 2020


20863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

never heard her stuff before but might have to peep this

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
May 15th 2020


13547 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I feel like something like this would be insta-sput-destroyed circa 2011-13.



Good to see sput evolving.

Digging: Stargazer (AUS) - Psychic Secretions

Lucman
May 15th 2020


5151 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really liked her last album so I've got high hopes for this one.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
May 15th 2020


20863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

even 2016 the poptimism wasn't as high here i like it

bloodshy
May 15th 2020


2734 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Haven't been a fan since True Romance. Skimmed over this, was excited by the first song, then my hopes were dashed.

Digging: System of a Down - Mezmerize

hamid95
May 15th 2020


937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review!

laughingman22
May 15th 2020


2830 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

So good

Odal
May 15th 2020


536 Comments


Damn, good review! This thing is so good that I am, like many of you, slapping a big ol' 5 on it. Might review this too. Can't stop listening.

Odal
May 15th 2020


536 Comments


Damn, good review! This thing is so good that I am, like many of you, slapping a big ol' 5 on it. Might review this too. Can't stop listening.

wwf
May 15th 2020


6982 Comments


Pretty hot album art but 4.1 hmmm

Valkoor952
May 15th 2020


4249 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"I feel like something like this would be insta-sput-destroyed circa 2011-13. 



Good to see sput evolving."



Yes, we've gone from that to 5'ing mediocre white girl pop albums in no time, if that isn't progress..



Albums is good, but Detonate and Enemy are just bleh, don'5 care for Anthem either

JS19
May 15th 2020


7726 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

feel like this is the first Charli album i get the same way everyone else seems to



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