If my math is right, that makes her Charli 100.
Hazel Robinson: I have never been aggressively opposed to either goths or gloomy electro, so even though Charli’s voice has some of the most annoying sub-Kate-Bush-ripoff affectation-over-melody that I’ve heard in a year packed so full of it it’s surely worth a genre section next to ‘Tragic Life Stories,’ I am pretty into this. It’s pretty and improves the prettier it gets, with bassy bits that get the concept of fun, the dancefloor soundscape woven in a way that suggests she actually very much understands the submersive headiness required, not flatlining the vocal into standoffishness. Surprisingly exciting.
Iain Mew: Starts off sounding like it’s going to turn into Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life”, but instead of a big chorus we get a creepy shuffle. The fuzzy bass and glistening backing vocals do most of the work to make that a success, and to allow Charli to pull off some fairly silly lyrics about nuclear doom.
Katherine St Asaph: In an alternate timeline, Gwen Stefani got really into The Knife, practicing her glottal stops daily until she sounded like Karin. It was a nice change from raiding her big sister’s ’80s records daily. Then she joined Ladytron circa Velocifero, and I’ll stop now because my description of Charli XCX is rapidly starting to resemble the musical revisionism of my dreams.
Brad Shoup: We’re going back full-bore, DeLorean style: a New Wave update with atomic annihilation in mind. A vengeful T’Pau, cracking the clouds to laugh at survivors, Charli still puts the pop first, stuffing the chorus with Bathish multiple personalities and lipsmacks straight out of “Time Of the Season”. But it’s not as compelling as those rattling, vacillating chords.
Alfred Soto: You know how critics like to say, “Imagine if…”? Don’t imagine here: Charli does sound like Fever Ray after a night of dancing to Missing Persons. I don’t mind gulped vocals when they help the swelling beats and bubbling percussion swallow the singer’s self-regard.
Jonathan Bogart: Far be it from me to deny anyone their 80s nostalgia; and not only do we have a Lauper/Grogan/Bozzio vocal ticster front and center; and not only do we have big splashy synth hits run through as many vintage samplers as we can find; and not only do we have those seesaw melodies so beloved by early synth mucker-abouters-with, because they’re so much easier to program than melodies that wander or leap; but we have good old-fashioned nuclear paranoia too, dressed up as camp and taken around the park for a spin. It could have been a club hit in 1986; it could still be one now. Better late than never.