It’s been a whirlwind couple of years for rising British star Charli XCX. After writing and appearing on Icona Pop’s I Love it, she went on to achieve a second global smash thanks to her feature on Iggy Azalea’s Fancy. Not content with having just two hits, she went on to have her first solo smash in the form of the mid-tempo Boom Clap, which features on the soundtrack to 2014 film The Fault In Our Stars.
Although she’s been over in America for the past few months winning herself legions of new fans with her brand of rebellious British pop, she managed to find time to fly back to the UK last week for a performance at London’s biggest gay club. To celebrate her triumphant return, here are seven things we learned while watching Charli XCX do what she does best:
She’s pop music’s new cheerleader
We had a moment of sudden realisation during her show that Charli is essentially the Missy from iconic teen film Bring It On of the pop world. How did we not realise this sooner?
Pop music can appeal to anyone
Charli’s brand of unapologetic pop seems to have stirred something in the hearts of British 40-somethings, if the smattering of slightly greying hair at the gig was anything to go by. We have to admit, imagining a middle-aged mother doing the school run and then blasting Break the Rules on her Ford Focus’ CD player as she travels to see her lover on the side for a quick rendezvous at the local Travelodge feels kind of iconic.
She’s bringing ‘Girl Power’ back
Not content with just bringing back the 90s, Charli’s brand of feminine empowerment coupled with her all-female band made a fierce statement that Emma, Geri, Mel B, Mel C and Victoria would be seriously proud of.
Gay men love her
Why do gay men love Charli so much? Is it because of her emerging status as a fashion icon? Her vocal opposition of Uganda’s anti-gay rights law? Or fact she unashamedly came out on stage with crimped hair, pulling off a hairstyle that even Carrie couldn’t manage to make work in the Sex and The City 2? Either way, the almost deafening chorus of “Yaasss Charli!” as the London Queen emerged on stage made it abundantly clear she has us on her side until the bitter end.
Pop stars don’t need a gym membership
She managed to move frantically throughout the hour and a half long set, flipping her hair like she was starring in her own L’Oreal advert without even a hint of sweat materialising on her face. Essentially, if you can’t afford a gym membership in London, the next best way to get your cardio fix is to become a global pop icon. Any tips, Charli?
Pop music is cool again
There’s nothing wrong with glossy, polished pop, but it’s been missing a gloriously unpolished edge that Charli encompasses effortlessly. The moment she addressed the crowd after a particularly intense performance, declaring: “Part of my weave just fell out…fuck,” kind of summerises what we mean perfectly.
She doesn’t give a fuck what you think
Make no mistake; Charli XCX is no PG-brand popstar. She wouldn’t sing a song about kissing a girl; she would sing a song about tonguing one. She’s a balls to the wall rebel with a cause, whose unapologetic “fuck you, sucker” message – which got the crowd chanting during the show’s opening number – is a motto we’re going to start living by immediately.
Words: Josh Haigh.