Charli XCX‘s Vroom Vroom EP was released 5 years ago today. The EP showcased Charli XCX’s abilities in pop innovation and paved the way for her to experiment with new sounds later on in her career.
The main way in which these new sounds made their way onto the record was through producer SOPHIE, who helped take the manufactured persona of XCX and mould her into an avant-garde experiment in pop. Many of Sophie’s surrealist trademarks are seen on Vroom Vroom; chipmunk vocals, synthesized dance breaks, and artificial sample sounds.
Short but sweet, the EP was made up of aggressively hyperactive tracks, each pummelling the listeners with bossy, sassy lyrics and sounds that asserted Charli’s dominance in the genre. The EP seemed to be simultaneously a parody and celebration of certain kinds of pop, exaggerating every aspect of the genre for dramatic effect.
The tracks were diverse in sound, yet similar in their energies. The opening track ‘Vroom Vroom’ combined seemingly contrasting sounds by interspersing dark, heavy drums and bass between bubblegum pop choruses and lyrics that shouted ‘bitches know they can’t catch me’. On ‘Paradise’, XCX collaborated with PC Music artist Hannah Diamond to create a Eurodance banger with sweetly produced vocals.
Criticism of the EP was that it’s overly processed style left it feeling void of personality. However, many would argue that this sound is what makes it so unique. While certainly not perfect, Vroom Vroom signalled XCX’s move into new heights. It was hedonistic, boastful, and wholly uncommercial, and made no attempt to apologise for its recklessness.
Check out the lead single, ‘Vroom Vroom’ below: