Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Eastern Echo Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

brat album cover.jpeg

Review: Charli XCX drops names and hits the dancefloor on ‘Brat’

The sixth album from experimental pop musician Charli XCX, "Brat" is an introspective danceable pop record.

Charli XCX has left conventional pop and returned to experimentation with her new album “Brat.”

“Brat," Charli XCX’s sixth studio album, was released on June 7. It was a hyperpop record that explored fame, clubbing, and personal introspection. Though Charli XCX has done hyperpop before, her previous album, 2022’s “Crash” was a more conventional, synthpop record.

The album was promoted with two singles, “Von Dutch” which was teased on TikTok, and “360” which featured a star-studded music video. 

The record's cover artwork stirred up controversy due to its garish design and low quality. In response to this controversy, Charli XCX wrote a post on X calling out the demand for women’s bodies in album artwork.

Highs

Charli XCX rejected genre conventions on “Brat.” Though it could be described as hyperpop, that is a broad genre. Sonically, the record was playful, bending what can be considered pop music and keeping the listener on their toes, all while not breaking sonic cohesion. For example, a piano section on the club track “Mean Girls.”

It was her most personal album to date, lyrically resembling diary entries, with discussions around her own life, career, and relationships. This included name-dropping multiple people, such as her fiance George Daniel, producer A.G. Cook, late hyperpop musician Sophie, Lana Del Rey, and Julia Fox. This made the album rewarding to die-hard fans and added a conversational and personal element to the music, filling it with storytelling.

There was a wide range of emotions on the record. From songs about dancing and being hot such as “Mean Girls” and “Club Classics,” to touching contemplative songs such as “I Think About It All the Time” and “So I.” The overall depth and complexity enriched the record, making it more than something to be listened to passively.

Lows

This wasn’t necessarily a problem, but the amount of self-referencing and name-dropping could make the album somewhat inaccessible to new fans. Though the music can still be enjoyed, certain lyrics just wouldn’t make sense without context. An example being “I’m everywhere, I’m so Julia” from the song “360,” if the listener was unfamiliar with who Julia Fox is and the fact that she and Charli XCX are friends, it would be a nonsense line.

Verdict

“Brat” immediately became a standout record in Charli XCX’s discography. Though not her most experimental project, it was one of her best works so far. It has something for all Charli XCX fans, though new fans might get a little lost in the lore.

Rating: 10 out of 10