Charli XCX
Brat


4.5
superb

Review

by TheGreatEscaper USER (2 Reviews)
June 7th, 2024 | 375 replies


Release Date: 06/07/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I’m your favourite reference, baby!

BRAT is as much an album as it is a cultural moment for Charli XCX, an artist teetering on the precipice of the soaring, confident career she and fans alike have envisioned for years. After she adopted a ‘sell-out’, sterilised pop girl persona in a thinly veiled desperation for fame, the aftermath of 2022’s Crash seemed to beg the question for the cult artist: what if she never makes it? With BRAT, she proposes the perhaps equally terrifying alternative: what if she does?

The rollout for the album was marked by the unprecedentedly confident assumption that she *already has*, with three of four singles being packed with lyrics painting her as an untouchable superstar, both zeitgeisty and agelessly iconic. Vans and Teslas bearing the omnipresent green of the rebellious album art trawled the streets of London and Paris. With surprise shows before release and an arena tour booked after, it was as if she had simply decided that, everything else be damned, she was the moment, and in delivering this statement so confidently, the public began to believe it and make it a reality. Final single 360 (whose video sports the original ‘it girl’ Chloe Sevigny) maintained over a million Spotify streams a day for over a fortnight, and internet culture was taken over by her ruthless colour iconography. In a move that almost felt like an acknowledgement of how momentous this album would be within her career, the cover art for all her previous albums were ‘BRATtified’ on streaming services. With such a rollout, you could be forgiven for thinking that BRAT would be nothing more than a self-prophetic and braggadocious victory lap for finally making it - but the arrival of the much-anticipated album reveals otherwise.

BRAT is as dark and introspective as it is celebratory and hedonistic. The momentum of the tracklist is constantly broken by ballads, including the strangely ambient, sub 2-minute I Might Say Something Stupid sequenced as the second non-single, where Charli explains that the anxiety of being out of place among larger celebrities makes her ‘go so cold’, an echo of the 360 remix’s ‘hey, why you do it so cold?’ Even tracks which seem upbeat on their surface, like Rewind and Apple, have shockingly frank lyrics about her disillusionment with fame and her conflicted relationship with her parents. Many lyrics express a fear or uncertainty about the celebrity status she seemed to so confidently embrace on the singles - ‘recently, I’ve been thinking about a way simpler time,’ even going as far as to suggest sidelining a career that ‘feels so small in the existential scheme of it all.’ Through the album cuts, the BRAT persona is revealed to be exactly that - a persona, plastered over the most honest and vulnerable version of Charli she’s ever dared to present.

That’s not to say the album is a downer; sonically, the patchwork of career throwback synths and pulsating club beats is pure candy, with some outrageous influences integrated effortlessly throughout, like the distorted orchestral strings and brasileiro funk beat of Everything Is Romantic, or the jazzy piano break that diverts Mean Girls from a 2000s throwback into a back half which takes the A.G. Cook staple of spliced-to-death vocals and elevates them in this fresh and exciting context. In what is almost certainly a tongue-in-cheek 180, Charli goes from a rare non autotuned moment about motherhood on I Think About It All The Time to the substance-fuelled and unhinged spiral of closer 365, which stacks dirty synthline after dirty synthline in what feels like a deranged sibling of the (now defunct) PC Music aesthetic.

Twitter has been exploding; critics have been raving; what I write here amounts to nothing more than just one of millions of voices on the internet screaming Charli’s name. BRAT seems perfectly poised to send her to the logical conclusion of what I Love It and Vrooom Vroom set in motion a decade ago - a sonically singular visionary with the pop-writing sensibilities to put her experimentation in the forefront of the public eye. All signs are pointing to this being a major moment for an artist with so much creativity still to offer. The question on everyone’s minds now: what next?





(…A remix album, hopefully.)


user ratings (232)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Dakota West Foss STAFF (5)
POP 3...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Cormano
June 7th 2024


4170 Comments


neat

Trebor.
Emeritus
June 7th 2024


59903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Was really worried about this one cuz the last one sucked but I love most of this

Pikazilla
June 7th 2024


30037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good shi

Colton
June 7th 2024


15427 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

artwork bad title bad album good

Ryus
June 7th 2024


37256 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i like the title and the art







and the album

samwise2000
June 7th 2024


1868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

might be her best

Pikazilla
June 7th 2024


30037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

is her best

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2024


26307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

"artwork bad title bad album good"

do you get anything out of saying the most boring takes imaginable

Mort.
June 7th 2024


25559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the artwork is great lol





Mort.
June 7th 2024


25559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'do you get anything out of saying the most boring takes imaginable'



yes his sense of identity

artificialbox
June 7th 2024


1866 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

really good review damn

jrlikestodance
June 7th 2024


1175 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Artwork good title good album good Colton L

jrlikestodance
June 7th 2024


1175 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This really is everything I've been wanting from Charli. So fuckin good

SmurkinGherkin
June 7th 2024


2208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fantastic review. Listened to this once so far and liked it a lot. Sonically she's managed to merge the heavy, messy, rave madness vibes of How I'm Feeling Now with the unashamedly mainstream sensibility of Crash (which I liked by didn't care for deeply) with all the heart and vulnerability of HIFN.



Love Charli she's a real G. I feel represented by her in a weird way, she's really bringing the energy of a dank and dirty rave to mainstream pop music and making it so personal too. A great achievement.

Hawks
June 7th 2024


89494 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Colton is like the kid that always gets picked last in sports with his micropenis energy.

Colton
June 7th 2024


15427 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

there’s no ways you guys are defending the ugly ass green with a single word written on it artwork choice

Colton
June 7th 2024


15427 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

and my micropenis has nothing to do with it

Faraudo
June 7th 2024


4676 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I will create burner accounts if for some reason the average goes below 4

Mort.
June 7th 2024


25559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'there’s no ways you guys are defending the ugly ass green with a single word written on it artwork choice'



yes

jrlikestodance
June 7th 2024


1175 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's the beauty of simplicity



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