Album Review: Crash

Review by: Savannah Libby

Artist: Charli XCX

Rating: 3/5

Charli XCX’s fifth studio album Crash is the product of a turbulent mix of Charli’s passionate feelings about straying from the traditional path during her music career, explaining how she never conformed to the expectations set for her by Atlantic Records.

The opening track “Crash” contains heartfelt lyricism, displaying synth and catchy repetition to draw in and excite listeners. Though the song is monotonous in the way the lyrics are delivered, the intentional electronic feel to the song lends to a tune that is enjoyable, even if difficult to listen to more than once.

The record includes more passionate songs such as “Move Me” and “Good Ones,” which captured my attention. “Good Ones” is a song harboring intense emotional grief, perfect for belting on a long drive. Charli is able to strengthen the track in the darkness of her vocal tone, while also presenting contrasts with sudden high notes, hypnotizing audiences. “Move Me” exemplifies that shift into a deeper vocality even further, making it a highlight of the album. The purposeful instrumental cut-offs convey a feeling of isolation from the industry. The song is incredibly catchy and cuts off the build-up of the instrumentals right after she says “move me” fitting perfectly into the pattern of cutting it off to convey her feelings of growing up in the industry.

Part of what makes Charli’s voice work so well on this album is the use of the 80s synthpop style that “Baby” and “Twice” show. The synths throughout the entire album and the relatively fast-paced tune make it a new playlist choice for roller skating. The more modernized lyrics are a stark contrast to the beat, which is a step back into the day and age of disco.

The biggest drawbacks that I have with Crash are tied to the tracks “Constant Repeat,” and

“Every Rule.” The monotonous tone that is used throughout the albums is overbearing here,  and even with “Constant Repeat,” being a literal loop, this quirk is not enough to save the track from feeling less essential by comparison.  “Every Rule” has a rather lack of energy that feels like an outlier compared to the rest of the songs on the album. Repetition is not a problem when Charli uses it with the right synths and instrumentals that are upbeat and give a more lighthearted mood like on “Lightning.”, but when the tracks are so blatantly boring, it’s impossible to derive any sense of enjoyment from them.

While the album might not be Charli’s best body of work, it is a fine addition to the discography of an artist that keeps on innovating. The eclectic mix of heart-wrenching lyrics and synthwave pop production makes this an enjoyable listen that harkens back to the 80s without being derivative of the sound.