Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Album Review: how i'm feeling now by Charli XCX

For reasons I don't quite understand I like Charli XCX and this album is probably the most 2020 album for me.  In 10 years if someone were to ask me to point to one album to represent 2020 it would most likely be this one.  It represents so many weird things about 2020.  First she decides to make the album, inspired by the fact that she is stuck in an apartment in NY with her off and on again boyfriend of 7 years.  Since she's stuck at home the entire album is made in said apartment and she does it all while holding these odd online sessions with her fans and other people and posting it all on YouTube.  

Ok so there is a lot here to digest.  First it is so 2020 because she is stuck in an apartment and decides to make an album.  Second she's stuck in the apartment with an off and on again boyfriend and she decides to make the album about their relationship.  Thirdly she does these weird online conferences with her fans and other people like Paris Hilton.  Which I found to be both wonderfully 2020 in the fact that as an artist she can talk directly with her fans, and also depressing in the sense that it feels so disconnected from reality.  But lastly I found that the songs she created really did reflect what a lot of us felt in 2020.  

Take for instance this opening to the song "Anthems."
I’m so bored (Woo) 
Wake up late, eat some cereal 
Try my best to be physical 
Lose myself in a TV show 
Staring out to oblivion

That is so 2020 for me.  

She also was able to go pretty deep into this relationship even though she's actually stuck in the apartment with this person, which I found to be pretty brave, though my wife would say it is simply exploitive.  There are two aspects to what has come from her reflection on this relationship.  One is that she realizes how much she actually loves this person and how much she has loved this person over the 7 years.  Look no further for instance than the song "7 years" for this reflection, but you hear it in other songs as well.  But there is also an odd note of understanding that she doesn't really believe this relationship will be for life.  Her feelings for this person and what they shared will always mean something important to her, but that doesn't mean they will be together for life.  This isn't because she doesn't have faith in this person she's been with for 7 years.  It is because she understands that she will at some point inevitably pull away.  This reminds me in some ways of some other music I've heard this year from female artists questioning their ability to love someone or in particular love the person they are with.  

I have to say I feel for this guy after hearing this album.  He'll be better off I think when she moves on and he finds someone else.  She'll be better off too I believe.  

All in all I like this album and found it quite interesting.  I've been able to go to it time and again this year and not gotten bored with it.  Definitely have to like electro-pop to get into this album at all, but if you do then I would recommend it.  Over the years I've heard a lot of albums that try and deal with something that is happening directly in their life when they make the album and many don't work.  This one I think does a great job of not only dealing with the oddness and seclusion of 2020, but at the same time taking a hard look at the relationship they are in and where it is at, and where it is going.  

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