‘How I’m Feeling Now’ Album Review By Charli XCX: New Music Brings Emotions, Vulnerability – And Growth
The fourth studio album from Charli XCX how I’m feeling now is not just a collection of music that she has been recording while in quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s something that is far different from her other albums.
The singer and songwriter has been an influence on pop culture since the early 2010s with her collaboration on writing Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and featuring on Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” in 2014, which hit the top of several charts worldwide. After her first album, True Romance, her track “Boom Clap” climbed to the U.S. top ten and was also featured in the movie soundtrack of John Greene’s The Fault in Our Stars. The album reached number five on the Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, around the time she was already working on the next one.
Fans were then introduced to the pop, electric and edgy sound that is well-known in her music. Since her first album, she has released five more including some mixtapes with big features such as Rita Ora, Cardi B, Ty Dolla $ign, Tinashe and more. Now, she has founded her own label, Vroom Vroom, giving her more freedom of choice as an artist.
Charli XCX selected a different approach for this album. Rather than focusing on dominance and fun as she normally does, she chose to explore vulnerability. Specifically, this is an album on her prospering relationship with her boyfriend, whom the album is mainly about. “I’ve never opened up to this extent,” she told Apple Music. “There’s usually a period where you sit with an album and live with a bit. Not here.”
She continue, “Before the quarantine, my boyfriend and I were in a different place – physically we were distant… But emotionally, we were different, too… It’s the longest time we’ve spent together in seven years of being in a relationship, and it’s allowed us to blossom.”
Many of the tracks on the album how I’m feeling now offer lyrics that are detailed, personal accounts and experiences in reference to her relationship and overall growth during isolation. Some sounds have a very steady pace while others are as fun-oriented as many of her other songs are. She makes use of electric beats and combines them with disco. Songs like “claws,” “7 years” and “detonate” give us hints into her private life and emotions. Other tracks like “party 4 u” and “anthems” take us back to the joyous Charli XCX that we’re familiar with. There’s so much variation for her as an artist – and fans can become very familiar now with those emotional sides of her personality.
Charli XCX has always pushed herself into an independent artist. This album proves her capabilities in taking control and stepping into her craft by exposing her vulnerability.