“It’s a champagne shower of badass pop,” 24-year-old Charli XCX says of her upcoming third album. As the British pop star prepares to evolve once more, she’s looking to forego the angst of her 2014 LP Sucker and have some uninhibited fun. With the dark electropop of her Vroom Vroom EP as the template, she’s continuing to work with avant-pop post-modernists PC Music while preparing her as-yet-untitled May release. In the meantime, she caught up with Rolling Stone to unveil a glimpse at the clubbier vibe of her new music.
How much would you say “After the Afterparty” reflects the sound of your new album?
I would say that it’s half representative of the record I’m gonna put out. The album is a party album, but “After the Afterparty” is a more straight-up pop song [than the rest]. It’s a big pop party album.
Your Vroom Vroom EP featured a few members of the PC Music collective and Sophie has a production credit on your new single. Will your new album be an extension of that process?
Sophie [a.k.a. Samuel Long] is pretty involved. There are some classic Sophie moments, and we reach the dip-into-the-club-at–4 a.m. kind of zone, but the thing about him is that he’s also an incredible pop producer. So there’s him doing pop really well on the album. And A.G. Cook is my creative director now. I was just like “Hey, do you want to be my creative director?” He was like “Yeah, cool.” We talk every day about, like, nail-polish color or whatever like two gal pals. It’s pretty great.
What attracted you to working with PC Music?
In the first place, I was just a fan. My ex-boyfriend put me onto Sophie. I was always a fan of Hannah Diamond’s photography, and we collaborated. I can’t remember how we met, but maybe it was just, like, over Twitter. But really initially what attracted me to them is just how they really see pop music in such a futuristic way. I mean I really feel like they are kind of ahead of their time both sonically and visually. They understand the music industry really well and it’s really interesting to go back and forth with them on the way that pop music is unfolding. I trust them. So, yeah, I don’t know. … I know not everybody loves it, not everybody gets it, but I think that’s a good thing about music. I would rather it create divided opinion than everyone be just unaffected by it.
And what inspired the clubbier concept behind this album?
On my previous record, I was really annoyed at the music industry and felt like I had something to prove. After that, I didn’t feel I had anything to prove anymore. Also one of my favorite hobbies is partying, and I realized that I never actually made a party album. I never made an album that I would want to hear at a club. It was very indulgent in that sense because I just wanted to make an album that I could get fucked up to. It’s the soundtrack to my nights.
What is your ideal party?
Some really great vehicles, like multiple, different vehicles. SUVs, limousines must be included, preferably white. Lots of champagne and a really great driver, who isn’t drinking. Just want to add that in. … A Britney Spears and Sophie playlist. Maybe she could do a PA with him DJing. That’d be pretty good.
Which era of Britney would be playing?
The Blackout era.
Beyond Lil Yachty, is anyone else making an appearance on the album?
There might be a special feature but I can’t really talk about who that is. But I’m doing a mixtape also that will come out before then and I’ve been working with lots of fun people on that.