I don’t normally gravitate towards girl-centric pop music, but I do make an exception for the girls that go against stereotype and bring something fresh to a genre that is usually fraught with carbon copy, saccharin-sweet Disney-bots (see: Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, et al). One such exception is 20-year-old Brit sensation Charli XCX, a purveyor of pop with a definitively darker twist. Born Charlotte Aitchison, she’s been performing in the UK since she was seven and over the years has developed a distinctly bold sound and an even bolder look. It’s like Björk, Santigold and Robyn had a weird baby with insanely killer pipes and a penchant for platform boots.
Her single ‘You’re the One’, off of her EP of the same name, has the hard hitting, synth-filled bass boom of a Sleigh Bells track but layered with Charli’s singular vocals that seem at once airy and room-filling. The catchy chorus actually has some typical romantic leanings, but the way it is arranged and with the way Charli sings it, the whole thing comes off as a very gothic take on young love. Another reason why Charli stands apart and should be held up as an example of the bright future of pop music… she writes all of her own songs.
The video for ‘You’re the One’ is a perfect example of why I am loving this girl right now. It’s a weird, dark dreamscape where Charli plays leader to a gang of tiny, leather jacket clad tough girls while oddly dancing in an empty warehouse and showing off her fabulously bizarre sense of style. She’s fashion forward, young and talented and doesn’t need to resort to the overtly sexed-up machinations of her contemporaries. It is fantastic to see such confidence in her own unique persona in a industry where trendiness and conformity are usually the norm.
Charli was recently quoted as saying, “We need to reboot British girl power, but this time with edge!” Well, she’s definitely leading the charge in that long overdue CTRL-ALT-DELETE and I can’t wait to see what else she’s got in store for us. Take a look and a listen below…I think you’ll be as excited about the return of true girl power as I am.