In true 2020 fashion, Charli XCX announced her fourth album via a Zoom call to fans. Charli vowed ‘to use this isolation time to make a brand-new album from scratch’ and that’s exactly what she’s done. Recorded entirely in lockdown, her new album how I’m feeling now was written, mixed and recorded in just five and a half weeks.

Charli wanted the album to be ‘indicative of the times we’re in and she has certainly managed that. The lockdown experience of confusion, ups and downs and anxieties seep into every lyric and melody. Although Charli herself is a big pop fan and takes up important space in the genre, her music has always been actively different, fighting against the norm. how i’m feeling now reveals this even more than her previous records, with the DIY, no frills element adding to its unusual, sometimes messy sound. 

claws was the debut single and delivers the kind of catchy, fizzing and fun hit that we have come to expect from Charli. enemy has an energy that is instantly lovable too, with added voice note to make it feel incredibly personal. In fact, the entire record boasts a raw kind of intimacy not often heard in big pop records. Even the lack of capitalisation on song names makes this album feel more familiar.

Although the record delves deep into the turbulent rollercoaster we are all currently living through, there are still some sweeter moments about her partner. In forever she sings “I’ll love you forever, even when we’re not together”. 7 years depicts their journey as a couple and explores how being in lockdown together has helped their relationship.

anthems is an explosive stand out track, expressing Charli’s desire to go out out. It boasts giddy energy for just under three minutes that perfectly reflects the feeling of needing to blow off steam and have fun. Add this one to your post-pandemic pre-drinks playlist immediately. Second single I finally understand also brings fiery spirit with its fast, electronic beats and rapid lyrics.

party 4 u is the oldest song on the record, which became a fan favourite after Charli performed it live in Tokyo. It explores missing someone you wish you could see and is certainly apt, offering a down-tempo, reflective moment amongst the mayhem.

The album begins and finishes with rave-inspired pink diamond and visions. Both songs start off with melodic pop-synths and gradually turn into disordered and noisy dance tracks. These anarchic bookends perfectly reflect the emotional uncertainty happening around the world right now, bringing the album’s theme full circle.

how i’m feeling now is chaotic in the best way. Charli has not been afraid to experiment or show her vulnerabilities, producing a totally individual yet relatable record. An album that knows exactly how we’re all feeling right now is just what we needed to hear. 

Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now Tracklist:

pink diamond
forever
claws
7 years detonate
enemy
i finally understand
c2.0
party 4 u
anthems
visions

Listen to the album below:

how I’m feeling now, is out now and available to purchase or stream here.

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