Straddling the most experimental and mainstream sides of pop with ease, Charli XCX — aka singer/songwriter Charlotte Aitchison — is just as comfortable working with cutting-edge producers like SOPHIE as she is touring with Taylor Swift. As a songwriter and collaborator, she helped create some of the biggest pop singles of the 2010s, including Icona Pop’s 2012 smash “I Love It” and Iggy Azalea’s 2014 chart-topping hit “Fancy.” As an artist in her own right, her work spanned the edgy sounds of her 2013 debut album, True Romance, to the more straightforward territory of 2014’s follow-up Sucker, which featured the U.S. Top Ten single “Boom Clap.” As the decade unfolded, she only became more prolific and more eclectic. Along with founding her own label, Vroom Vroom, she issued EPs and mixtapes, including 2017’s Pop 2, that allowed her to combine the different sides of her music in a fittingly freewheeling way — a direction she continued on 2019’s Charli and 2020’s how i’m feeling now.
Born in Cambridge, England, to a Scottish father and a Gujarati Indian mother, Aitchison began writing songs when she was 14. By 2008, she was posting her tracks online and performing at raves, taking her MSN Messenger user name as her alias. That year, she released a pair of singles, “Emelline/Art Bitch” and “!Franchesckaar!,” and recorded her first album, which she sold at concerts but was never released officially. She returned in 2011 with the singles “Stay Away” and “Nuclear Seasons,” both of which were produced by Ariel Rechtshaid, and appeared on Starkey’s “Lost in Space” and Alex Metric’s “End of the World.” She also issued the mixtapes Super Girls, Super Love, and I Like Boys Who Cry, which respectively gathered the female and male artists who shaped her music.
Charli XCX has used her lockdown time wisely. During the past six weeks in isolation, the British producer and pop renegade got to work and cut a new album, how i’m feeling. The DIY LP, executive produced by Charli, A. G. Cook and BJ Burton, spans 11 tracks and dropped at midnight.
How i’m feeling is the product of a special two-way connection with fans, as Charli encouraged her followers to give real-time feedback and contribute to the songs and videos. The new tunes are coursing with the need for action and a human touch, and are detailed with all the emotions of the lockdown experience.
It’s the followup to 2019’s Charli.
Stream the album below.