The Musixmatch Mixtape

Charli xcx; hero, human, BRAT!

Tim Naylor
June 2024
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Social media turned lime-green on June 7th, as Charli xcx released her 6th studio album; BRAT.

This title and the album’s striking marketing campaign perfectly represent the record which is unapologetically bold and punchy. It’s not just Charli’s characteristic hyper-pop beats and blunt lyrics that cut through, though. The album’s real success comes in how it juxtaposes defiant loudness and soft vulnerability, with each tone ultimately helping the other to pack a heavier punch. It’s a daring exploration of music, genre, and human character, and I LOVE IT!

Picking just three songs to highlight in what is, for me, a project without skips is a difficult task. But it’s one I must take, and so to help me narrow down the choices I decided to focus on the songs that best showcase Charli’s versatility and the impressive tonal range of the album.

Songs for the time-capsule


So I

Von Dutch

365 is a party anthem that oozes confidence in every way. 

The music doesn’t feel the need to stay in one lane and isn’t afraid to surprise its listener with frequent and sudden shifts in beat, timbre, and melody. The lyrics have a similar feeling of fearlessness as Charli describes herself as a ‘365 party girl’ who ‘wanna go real wild’ and knows she looks ‘hot when [she’s] (bumpin’ that)’. In fact, the phrase ‘bumpin’ that’ is repeated no fewer than 60 times which further emphasizes Charli’s confidence as a songwriter. She feels no need to stick to pre-established ‘conventions’ in her songs and has no problem repeating lyrics extensively in order to let them and the music shine. It’s a gritty and powerful roaring vehicle of a song that you hear with your body as much as with your ears.

So I, in contrast, is a purring cat that you feel with your heart.

It presents Charli in a vulnerable light that seems completely detached from the thumping strobes of 365, as she speaks directly to her friend SOPHIE who sadly died in 2021. The song is a tribute, though Charli notes how she’d sometimes ‘push [SOPHIE] away’ as she ‘had a power like a lightnin’ strike’ that made her ‘scared sometimes’. The lyrics introduce us to a tentative and insecure side to Charli that’s not always foreground in her music. She tells SOPHIE, ‘You’re a hero and a human’ and it’s a phrase that could easily be returned to Charli herself. She’s often celebrated as a heroic party girl (an identitive cape she’s unafraid to wear, as 365 makes clear), but it’s always worth remembering that she has the same colours and shades of emotion that we all do. So I is a fantastic reminder of that, and it’s for this reason it makes it into my time-capsule!

So, if 365 presents Charli the hero and So I presents Charli the human, then where’s the BRAT? Von Dutch is the lead single from the album and accurately reflects its name and essence. 

Its lyrics could certainly be described as ‘bratty’, as Charli shines herself in sunny self-praise and throws shade on others:

‘Von Dutch, cult classic in your eardrums

Why you lyin’? You won’t f- unless he’s famous

Do that little dance, without it, you’d be nameless

It’s so obvious, I’m your number one’

Out of context, Von Dutch’s lyrics could be interpreted as simply arrogant and cruel, but in consideration alongside the rest of the album we see an artist who shields her insecurities with lavish, and perhaps, faux self-confidence. 

Charli xcx wears the BRAT persona with pride, as she knows that it’s the perfect display of her humanity. She worries, she feels, and she protects herself, as we all do. But she also makes albums like BRAT, which only come from a one-in-a-million talent. If you haven’t listened already, I strongly recommend you do. Get ready to hear Charli at her brattiest and best!

Tim Naylor
Working alongside our amazing community to help us all keep singing in tune and dancing in time!
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