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If we’re being completely honest here, ‘True Romance’ is the first pop album I’ve properly listened to this year. I tend to get bored by the genre; after a while, it all sort of blends together in my head. But I’d heard so much about Charli XCX that I decided to give her debut album a try- and I was not disappointed. ‘True Romance’ has all the elements that make pop music good- it’s catchy, accessible, real, and vocally spectacular. The British singer’s alluring voice is accompanied with grungy, atmospheric electronics (but in the best possible way). The best thing about the album is that it doesn’t get tired. The tracks are cohesive but individual, with different moods. Her songs are emotional but not burdening, and just dark enough. ‘Nuclear Seasons’, the album’s opener, is a knockout. It’s catchy without overexerting itself, a quality that extends throughout the whole album. The album does take a dip towards the middle- “Grins” and “So Far Away” were slight letdowns, and Brooke Candy’s  part on “Cloud Aura” is subpar at best. But it picks back up with “Black Roses” and keeps going.

She says of her album in an Idolator interview, “Some of my references are really pop-tastic. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, all the ’90s pop icons, but then I also draw from cooler, left-fieldy kind of stuff. I’ve just made the music I want to make.” This rings true, and it’s what makes the album work.

7.5/10

True Romance comes out on April 16th, but is available for pre-release streaming here.

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