Charli XCX slips into hip-hop and synth-pop mode, respectively, on her two addictive new singles, “Focus” and “No Angel.”
On “Focus,” the singer utilizes reverb-coated synths and programmed drums, moving from a borderline rapped flow to her expressive, heavily auto-tuned head voice. “I just want you to focus/ Better keep your composure like you trying to earn that diploma,” she sings. “Do it over and over, yeah/ Make it pop, Cola-Cola; make it hot, Barcelona.”
“No Angel” nestles somewhere Eighties synth-pop and DJ Mustard-styled production. “Baby, I’m bad to the bone,” she sings over thumping bass. “I just want to let you know that I’m no angel, but I can learn.”
The singles follow the May-issued “5 in the Morning” and recent guest spots on Rita Ora’s “Girls” (alongside Cardi B and Bebe Rexha), Tove Lo’s “Bitches” (with Icona Pop, Elephant and Alma) and Lil Xan’s “Moonlight.”
The wave of new music follows her 2017 mixtapes Number 1 Angel and Pop 2. The singer – who is opening for Taylor Swift on her massive Reputation stadium tour – recently told Rolling Stone she will probably record another album, though she’s growing disinterested with release formats.
“I think I will make [another] album, but what even is an album anymore?” she said. “My intent at the moment is that I just want to be releasing as much music as possible, whether that’s collaborations or my own songs. I think that just because it’s called a mixtape doesn’t mean it’s less valid. Over the past year and a half, I’ve realized how much I love being in the studio and how much I love collaborating and how much of a good curator I am. I just want to do that, whether that’s in mixtape form or album form or whatever.”