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April 2020
Review

Charli XCX - Number 1 Angel

Don't stop movin' to the funky funky beat.
Charli XCX - Number 1 Angel
Published: 12:00 pm, March 21, 2017
Don't stop movin' to the funky funky beat.

Label: Asylum Records UK
Released: 10th March 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Charli XCX is great at pretty much everything, but she’s awful at one; standing still. Decidedly and deliberately pop, it’s somehow still impossible to know exactly what she’s going to do next. Her style, ever changing. Her direction, whatever she fancies. Following on from the abrasion of ‘Vroom Vroom EP’ and the jitterbug of ‘Bounce’ comes a free mixtape to make up for a delayed third album.

Rather than a collection of throwaways or experimentation, ‘Number 1 Angel’ sees Charli doing what she does best. Full of primary colours, big hooks and loads of mates, it’s ever-shifting but Charli’s pop crown remains firm. She’s always been more than a handful of Mega-Bangers and while every one of the mixtapes’ tracks hits hard, they all stand apart. A different flavor of fun, an individual shade of rainbow excitement.

And that’s what Charli XCX does very, very well. Despite getting frustrated at album delays, none of that finds its way onto ‘Number 1 Angel’. Hyperactive and driven to do it all, her ability to remain constantly and consistently excited about music is infectious. She’s in love with sound, with other artists around her and the fact she gets to be a part of that world. All of that bubbling glitter drenches ‘Number 1 Angel’. It drives it forward, wide-eyed and sugar-soaked. Her fire is always stoked.

From the opening drop of ‘Dreamer’, this is a record about love. The roses of ‘True Romance’ are still in bloom, but the power has shifted. Adored and adoring, ‘Number 1 Angel’ is never lost in the moment or falling in with someone else. These are songs about knowing exactly what you want, and how to get it. ‘3AM’ is a late night fable, ‘Ily2’ is reassuring and surprised while ‘Lipgloss’ gets what it wants. Every moment is empowered. Every movement is self-assured. Playing well with others or by herself, Charli shines at every opportunity. Why have predictable when we can have ‘Number 1 Angel’? Standing still is overrated anyway. Ali Shutler

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