Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Charli XCX ft. Lil Yachty – After the Afterparty

The night drags on…


Cédric Le Merrer: How did we get from “Stay Away” to this? The PC Music thing could have been a wrong turn, but this lazy “We Can’t Stop” rewrite makes it look like the beginning of a downward slope.

Edward Okulicz: Charli’s drop from the lofty commercial heights of “Boom Clap” has been disappointing to watch. Her pop could be thoughtful and interesting and thrilling as well as bratty, and now she’s just a hook singer who processes her vocals to sound as much like an annoying child as possible. She can be a good hook singer (“Drop That Kitty” still bangs), but this direction isn’t right for her.

Katherine St Asaph: I liked Charli XCX when she was Charli XCX. I still liked Charli XCX when she was Republica. I don’t like Charli XCX when she is Miley Cyrus with less thinkpiece potential and a higher surface area of pants. Definitely don’t like the laziness of party songs that don’t commit to either fun or despair, settling for plastic-eyed ambivalence; or Lil Yachty dragging Whitney into this; or the fact that these are all “Ignition (Remix)” ripoffs; or the ongoing PC Music-pop industry masterplan (this is Stargate plus Sophie) of reducing talented female artists to two-dimensional saucy/sugary concepts.

Katie Gill: Comparisons are inevitably going to be drawn to “We Can’t Stop,” but this blows it out of the water, both as a play-by-numbers party song and as something with a deeper meaning. Whereas “We Can’t Stop” just hinted at the darkness behind the nonstop party, “After the Afterparty” takes full advantage of it. Charli XCX slurs her lyrics after Yachty’s verse, the vocoder showing just how little control she has over the situation. Also? The music video features literal party zombies. Even Lil Yachty isn’t ENTIRELY unbearable, his lethargic, monotonous style of rapping coming off as more resigned than anything. The result is beautifully obnoxious and something I adore.

Iain Mew: I would say the zombie video is terribly on the nose, except that the song does a less effective job of conveying the horror of going through the motions than a bunch of pink goop does.

Will Adams: Icona Pop’s lesser-known debut album (released only in Sweden) had a few high points that were cluttered with cheap, bleary-eyed party narratives. In a cruel twist, the artist responsible for their biggest hit is now regurgitating that rinky-dink aesthetic that’s neither happy enough to ignore the burnt out subtext nor sad enough to be poignant.

Ryo Miyauchi: Charli’s parties sound more thrilling when the end feels nigh. That stag piano — not too out of place on Lil Boat — perhaps could have been mined for a more poignant Charli track. But no matter: she has yet to write a less-than-great chorus about living the night to the fullest, even if the shout-your-heart-out format remains relatively the same.

Alfred Soto: Forget Sia — Charli’s got hooks, man. She can’t forget these spongy tracks with pep rally percussion, though.

Thomas Inskeep: Kidz Bop grown up too fast: this sounds like a children’s chant made more simplistic and stupid, both lyrically and musically. 

Jonathan Bradley: Charli XCX’s once infectious exuberance continues its decline into self-conscious sass; on “After the Afterparty,” she sounds like the only who’s having any fun — and from the sound of that “glitter in my underwear” line, it’s a rather uncomfortable fun at best. Further undermining any celebratory potential is a twee tinkling hook that actively grates and a brief Lil Yachty verse; always a relaxed presence, here he reclines all the way into irrelevance.

Claire Biddles: I really wasn’t keen on Lil Yachty when he last appeared on the Jukebox, but his lazy drawl makes sense in the context of “After the Afterparty”, juxtaposed with Charli XCX’s irresistible dirty sweetness. The sleepiness and nursery rhyme chorus are less about wild early-hours partying, and more evocative of goofy hangs with people you actually want to be with after everyone else has passed out or called a cab, talking and drinking until the buses start running again.

William John: Charli XCX captures the pervasive ennui amidst any group of people who continue to drink beyond 4 in the morning; in such context there’s a perfect aptness to Lil Yachty’s Spot The Dog verse of banal observations, but there’s also an overwhelming sense of melancholy, of queasy nausea, of loneliness. As meta-commentary, it works; as a listening experience it’s mostly plodding and unpleasant, save for the cartwheeling middle eight which almost renders the previous two or so minutes superfluous prelude. This middle eight is yet another instance of Charli’s disquieting ability to exhibit bratty insolence, exuberance and despair simultaneously – an earmark of her first two records, which remain some of this decade’s finest. Whether her association with PC Music will continue to act as a stifling force, replacing these glimmers of genius with the twinkles popularised by Mozart, is a matter for the second single to determine.

Reader average: [7.16] (6 votes)

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One Response to “Charli XCX ft. Lil Yachty – After the Afterparty”

  1. wow just sang the “I Dream of Jeannie” theme over the chorus and now I can’t unhear it