REVIEW: Charli XCX – Number 1 Angel

We take it all back.

Over the last few months we’ve been a little bit dismayed by the direction we thought Charli XCX was going in, particularly her association with PC Music. Doing so was not only prematurely dismissive on our part but – as we realise through her Number 1 Angel mixtape – entirely a disservice to everything we know Charli to be.

While this may be her weakest collection to date, this is still very much rooted deep in the identity that Charli XCX has cultivated for herself. This is her take on R&B, taking all the hybrid trap tropes made popular and re-appropriating them for her pop purposes. The first four tracks unfurl slowly in a smoky haze of those beats, none of them particularly challenging but a bright new sound for her all the same.

The gear shift comes with Roll With Me, which takes in her work with SOPHIE et al and makes it more tolerable. After that it’s Charli as we know her, and a reminder that she’s still got so much left to give to her anthemic pop charge. Emotional is a highlight, full of those big boom-clap beats and a pleasant reminder of what’s to come.

That brief interlude aside, it’s back to the R&B fetish on White Roses as she turns coquette, while Uffie makes a welcome return on the throwback radio sound of Babygirl. Which is all well and good, given that it very much seems Charli XCX can turn her hand to anything and make it fit; we’re just a little bit thankful that this is only a stopgap before a proper main event.

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Charli XCX - Number 1 Angel
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