Tweet at Charli XCX at Your Own Risk

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Earlier this month, Charli XCX — chronic tweeter, enfant terrible of the pop industry — told The Face that “releasing an album is sometimes totally triggering.” That’s the case for many musicians, but it seems especially taxing for those who never log off.

Now, Charli XCX has new music on the horizon — a club record, ooh — and is inevitably facing a new set of online agitations. On February 29, a novelist named Gabriel Smith shared a screen shot of what looked like fan mail from Charli, purportedly showing her requesting blessings to title her next record the same name as his upcoming book: “I want to call my next album ‘Brat’ because I think your novel coming out next summer sounds so cool.” Perhaps it’s a tribute to Smith’s writing skill that the email does indeed read like it came from Charli; among those temporarily fooled were myself and, apparently, the hosts of BBC Radio 1. But Brat is such a perfect title for a playfully petulant star like her that the only place it could have originated is her Notes App.

In the end, this all turned out to be a canny bit of book advertising, which Charli swiftly shut down: “I’ve never heard of you. good luck with your book tho!” She can’t be too mad, because this kind of annoying stunt might as well be straight out of the Charli anti-marketing marketing playbook.

Charli comes off better here than in past episodes. After pushing boundaries on albums like Pop 2 and How I’m Feeling Now, the onetime princess of the pop underground decided that what she really wanted to try was selling out. So she stuffed her 2022 album, Crash, with the type of anodyne bangers that top the “Billboard Hot 100.” She succeeded — Crash became her most commercially successful record — but not before wilding out at underwhelmed fans: “Bitch BYE. I will NEVER understand what possesses people to be such C- - - - online,” she tweeted and then deleted. (Part of the issue was that she misunderstood what it means to be called “mother.”) But who needs online randos to diss you when you’ll just do it yourself? In typical Charli fashion, she has since distanced herself from her prior music: “There were songs on Crash that I would never listen to,” she said in her interview with The Face. Okay then. I look forward to her figuring her shit out; in the meantime, I will still be streaming.

Tweet at Charli XCX at Your Own Risk