Release Date: Feb 26, 2016
Record label: Vroom Vroom
“One can never know with perfect accuracy both of those two important factors which determine the movement of one of the smallest particles — its position and its velocity. It is impossible to determine accurately both the position and the direction and speed of a particle at the same instant.”– Werner Heisenberg, on his uncertainty principle “Sippin sizzurp in my ride, like Three 6. Now I’m feeling so fly like a G6.”– Far East Movement, “Like a G6” “Let’s ride.”– Charli XCX During the mid-to-late 80s, artists like Madonna and Janet Jackson dropped the pop world on its axis with their unprecedented agency, brazen sexuality, and unique visions of female empowerment.
The unifying factor in every release of Charlotte Aitchison’s still-young career — aside from the oft-stunning expertise in songwriting and boundless level of confidence on display — is the dedication to voice. Which isn’t to call Charli XCX a master ventriloquist, as much to say that she’s virtually peerless when it comes to committing to a pop character for one project, and no longer. The cloud-hearted daydreamer of True Romance didn’t have a ton in common with the class-cutting prom queen of Sucker, and though we never got to hear Charli in full gutter-strutter mode on her shelved new-wave LP, judging from the tracks that leaked, she would’ve been pretty unrecognizable there too.
Charlotte Emma Aitchison is a pop star with an outsized personality and a visual aesthetic that verges on gaudy. Her style lends itself well to PC Music, so Aitchison's latest EP as Charli XCX, a SOPHIE collaboration called Vroom Vroom, makes sense. The record inaugurates Aitchison's label of the same name, which she calls a platform for "experimental pop." With SOPHIE behind all four tracks, Vroom Vroom is a gutsy move from Aitchison.The title track dates back to last year, and it makes a great case for SOPHIE as a Top 40 pop producer.
Charli XCX is the rare pop diva who can make an EDM robot character sound more punk than pop. Her four-song Vroom Vroom EP is the perfect snack between 2014's Sucker and her as-yet-untitled third LP. With Sophie of naifish UK pop collective PC Music producing every track, this quick-hit release unleashes something more visceral than we’re used to from her.
Charli XCX, aka Charlotte Aitchison, has always seemed as interested in breaking new ground as chart dominance. And while that's certainly the path to critical adulation, in the world of pop music, fortune rarely favours the artists who get there first. Likewise, while SOPHIE and the entire PC Music crew have made significant splashes with in-the-know listeners, their culture jamming pop tunes have yet to reach the ears of mainstream pop fans.So although a collection of SOPHIE-produced Charli XCX tunes would be music to any poptimist's ears, on these four brief tracks — each clocks in at two minutes — the duo is only intermittently able to find their groove.
Pop music is like pizza. When you eat it alone, you can more easily acknowledge the junky properties – cliché formulas, fatty cheese – behind the savoury taste. When shared with others, though, pop music transforms an ordinary gathering into a 'moment', and even food snobs can overlook the junk. Charlotte Aitchison, aka Charli XCX, lives for that moment – you haven’t heard 'I Love It' until you’ve seen a crowd pouncing down the dance floor, everyone eager to drive their cars off the bridge.
Charli XCX hasn’t quite enjoyed the mainstream crossover she’s obviously capable of, but her influence looms over pop as a songwriter and a test site for daring ideas. The Vroom Vroom EP is her latest experiment: Produced entirely by PC Music's Sophie, it finds Charli in her trademark middle-finger-flipped repose. But here, the 23-year-old Brit veers away from the marketable rebellion that underpins her poppier work: Vroom Vroom is pointedly uncommercial and abrasive.
Charli XCX feels like a pop star for the new age. She’s too cool to be straight down the line and unwilling to shed the quirks that make her a favourite of The Real Music Fan (TM), but quite audibly a Millenial darling of generation Spice Girl who has never known ‘Pop’ as a dirty word. It’s with that spirit that she returns with her Vroom Vroom EP, produced by electronic producer SOPHIE and sonically taking a sharp left in her career trajectory.
LISTENING TO VROOM VROOM, Charli XCX’s collaborative EP with PC Music affiliated producer Sophie, is like watching a duel between a perfectly competent swordsman and a master with one good hand tied behind their back. The former would be Sophie, a producer who’s usually a lot more bold than this. His debut from last year, Product, featured eight tracks that dazzled in their execution and sound design even when they bordered on irritating.