Every track on Charli XCX's CRASH, Ranked
It's Charli, baby.
Crash is finally here, and it's immense. Following up how I'm feeling now would be difficult for any artist - but Charli XCX isn't just any artist. Rounding off her five-album contract with the biggest record of her career is just another workday for her. Lucky for us, though, because we get to enjoy 12 absolutely amazing bangers.
In lieu of a traditional review, I'll be ranking all twelve songs across the standard edition of Crash (c'mon, give us the deluxe with Sweat already!). I'll be talking about what I enjoy about each of them, picking out my favourite lyrics, and highlighting some of the best songs of the year by one of the best pop artists of all time. Ready? Let's ride!
12. Used To Know Me
Used To Know Me is a great song - it's one of the catchiest on the album. Charli gives a fantastic vocal performance, using her underrated range to its full potential in that delectable vocal run in the chorus. So why is it ranked below every other track? Well, it's partly because of the sample. Show Me Love is an iconic song, and I'm not knocking it, but Used To Know Me doesn't do much more than the original does, making for a rare moment on Crash that remains firmly rooted in the past rather than looking toward the future. It's still a banger, though, and the lyrics are excellent.
Best line: You say I'm turning evil, I'll say I'm finally pure / Shine bright in my reflection, think I lost myself before.
The fact that Baby ranks as one of the album's weakest songs is more a reflection on how fantastic an album Crash is rather than any slight on the song itself. There's plenty to love here - the Janet Jackson-inspired strings are a delight, and provide a beautiful contrast to the deep 808s. Charli's vocal performance is on point, too - the "I'mma make you my" part is one of the album's biggest earworms, and every time I hear it I find new things to fall in love with.
Best line: You know I'll break your heart / Tear it into pieces, one more fallen star.
10. New Shapes (feat. Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek)
The first time I heard New Shapes, it didn't quite click for me, especially in contrast to the instantly loveable Good Ones. More fool me - it didn't take long until I had that mega-catchy chorus in my head almost every day. It's perhaps not the most obvious choice for a single, despite the big-name guests (both Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek deliver electrifying performances), but it's still a great song in its own right. It works even better in the context of the album, serving as the perfect second track after the title track kicks things off.
Best line: You call it art but you pulled out my heart and you twisted it into a new shape.
9. Beg For You (feat. Rina Sawayama)
It's no surprise that Beg For You became a hit. The production is instantly grabbing, and while it rides a sample in the same way that Used To Know Me does, it's subtler, and somehow feels more Charli. The lyrics help, for sure - it's incredibly written, all yearn and desperation in the way that Charli does best. Rina Sawayama is here too, and delivers a phenomenal vocal performance, cementing the track as a pop superhero teamup for the ages.
Best line: Put your lips on my lips, I'll remember your kiss on the nights when I miss you.
8. Move Me
Move Me is one of Crash's biggest growers. Similarly to New Shapes, it didn't click for me on first listen, but it didn't take long at all to become a favourite. I think it's that chorus melody that does it for me. The way everything cuts out at the "hold my body tight" line - shivers. Real shivers. I'll always think of Charli as an underrated writer - how can you hear a song like Move Me and not think of her as one of the best pop songwriters of our generation? Apparently, when she wrote this song, Charli was recommended to sell it to Halsey. Thank goodness she kept it for herself - no one else could do it justice.
Best line: Call it what you want, I got a habit for destruction.
If anyone tells you that Charli sold out with Crash, or watered down her sound to appeal her label, please direct them toward Lightning. It may be the weirdest song on the album, blending a Daft Punk-esque vocoder breakdown with New Order synths and a garage breakbeat. It brings together every era of her sound - the giant hooks of True Romance, the futuristic vision of Vroom Vroom, the ahead-of-its-time how I'm feeling now - and the results are electrifying.
Best line: Heartbreak already hit me once, so swear that it won't happen twice.
One constant throughout Charli's career is her knack for a striking album opener, whether it's the attention-grabbing statement of intent that is Pink Diamond, or the electronic rebirth of Next Level Charli. Crash's title track continues in this vein, with its mantra-like chorus and new-jack-swing meets hyperpop production. A. G. Cook's touch does blessings for the song, adding extra weight to Charli's electrifying lyrics. It's the kind of bad bitch anthem that she does so well, making it not just a highlight of the album, but also a highlight of her career. Also - that guitar solo! Hell yes!
Best line: I'm high-voltage, self destructive, end it all so legendary.
Twice is such a glorious ending to Crash, and may be my favourite closing track of the year so far. It's the spiritual successor to Robyn's Dancing On My Own, an anthem for crying in the club. It's clear why it's already become a fan favourite - from the already iconic BandsInTown performance to the cinematic lyrics, everything about it feels legendary. The production sounds like heaven in .mp3 form, revealing new layers of beauty upon repeated listens. Don't think twice about it - this song is a masterpiece.
Best line: Die happy thinking 'bout my best friends.
4. Every Rule
I'm a sucker for a dreamy ballad, and Every Rule hits all the right notes for me. The keys are soft as silk, Charli's voice has never sounded prettier, and the guitar parts throughout tug at my heartstrings. The chorus is stunning - it feels instantly recognisable, yet never derivative - and proves that Crash is more than just an album for bangers. You could slot Every Rule in a playlist next to I Don't Wanna Know or Tears, and no one would bat an eyelid - it's that great.
Best line: Cigarettes up on the balcony, wrapped up in nothing but sheets.
3. Good Ones
Good Ones remains as fresh as it did on first listen. The lead single for Crash was a perfect introduction into her world, a Eurythmics-inspired banger that ranks among her greatest singles. Sure, it was a departure from the hyperpop of how I'm feeling now, but that doesn't matter when it's such a bop. It's Charli doing what she does best - being herself. Regardless of your thoughts of any of the subsequent singles, or any other aspects of the album rollout, there's no denying that this was a perfect way to kickstart the Crash era.
Best line: Don't want the kisses unless they're bitter.
The title is misleading. Yuck is the last reaction I'd ever have listening to this song. From the rubbery bassline to the tongue-in-cheek lyrics, this song is irresistibly sweet. It was my favourite song on first listen, immediately winning me over with the Dua Lipa-esque production and percussive vocal delivery. Its lyrics of hocus-pocus shit are hilarious while remaining vivid, making for a delightful treat of a song that's going to cause chaos on the Crash tour.
Best line: Put me on a pedestal 'causе my love's incredible.
1. Constant Repeat
Pop music doesn't get better than this. Why on earth wasn't Constant Repeat a single? In some ways, it's the perfect summation of Crash, an album that mixes the sounds of pop past, present, and future. From the gargantuan hook to the 80s synths and futuristic vocoder outro, it hits all of Charli's sonic touchstones with ease. It's an immaculate song that can join the likes of Vroom Vroom and Claws as her very best songs. Thank you for everything, Charli.
Best line: Do you realize I could've been the one to change your life?
AC is the Head of Written Content at QSO Media. Follow them on Twitter.