British music is fortunate to have Charlotte Aitchison. A restless collaborator and denier of pop borders with an unteachable ear for a hook, she’s one of the UK’s proudest exports. Her third studio LP serves as a blueprint for how a modern pop album should sound. Audacious but introspective, it’s straining with potential hits and subtler moments fans will hold close. And then there’s the cast list. If she tires of this pop star business, a sterling career in A&R probably awaits. She talked through some of the album’s standout moments on her Beats 1 show The Candy Shop.
“Next Level Charli” “I wrote this track for the Angels—my fans. This is the Angel anthem. Everything in this song is about things that I imagine my fans doing: driving to a party, getting ready for a party, playing their music in their Prius, whatever it is. This song is for you guys. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for supporting me.”
“Gone” (with Christine and the Queens) “This is the bop. The song of the summer, if I don’t say so myself. Me, Christine, dancing on a car, rain: What more do you want? We literally gave you everything.”
“Cross You Out” (feat. Sky Ferreira) “I’m so happy that we got to make this song together. This was one of the first songs that kind of came to reality for this album. I sent this over to Sky, she felt it and came into this studio in LA with [co-writer] Linus Wiklund. She sounds so amazing and I’m so happy because Sky and I have known each other for quite a few years now. We kind of came up together in many ways, and we’ve shared a lot of the same producers. We’ve been on the same magazine covers together, and you know, I feel like we were on Myspace at the same time! I think her voice is really important and what she does is brilliant.”
“2099” (feat. Troye Sivan) “My favorite dreamboat, my dream boy: Troye Sivan. I’m just in love with him. I just think he’s so brilliant. After we made [the 2018 single] ‘1999’, I kind of knew he wanted to get a little bit weirder than we got, as I’d heard him mention that he was into [Charli’s 2017 mixtape] Pop 2. So after ‘1999’ came out, I hit him up again and said, ‘Should we just go there? Should we just go out of space? Like, let’s do a weird moment.’ And he was like, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’”
“Click” (feat. Kim Petras & Tommy Cash) “I’m not going to lie—and no shade to any of the other artists on the album— but I kind of think Kim’s verse might be my favorite on the whole album. I remember when I originally sent Kim this song, I did a verse and it was so bad. She sent me her demo back and her verse killed, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I cannot put this song out with the verse I currently have.’ So I had to rerecord my thing, as Tommy had also sent me his and killed it, too. I was the weakest! It was bad! I love this song. It goes so hard. And Kim is still shining so bright on this song.”
“Warm” (feat. HAIM) “This song is produced by A.G. Cook. He actually wrote a few of the melodies on this song, too. When we were making this song, we were working at [Australian producer and DJ] Flume’s studio in LA, and this was at the point where we thought we were still going to do a third mixtape. But then we had this song and a couple of ideas and were like, ‘Let’s just do the album. Now’s the time for the Charli album.’ When HAIM came to the studio house that I had rented in LA at the beginning of 2019, I had just had a lot of dental work done, so my whole mouth was super numb. I was dribbling; I couldn’t really speak. They were like, ‘What happened to you!’ It was a funny session, but the three of them came through. I’m so happy with the song.”
“White Mercedes” “This is one of my favorite songs from the album. I guess it’s my version of a ballad.”