Charli XCX captures her present life on the made-in-quarantine How I’m Feeling Now | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Charli XCX captures her present life on the made-in-quarantine How I’m Feeling Now



Charli XCX has no chill. The pop star has spent much of her time during the pandemic making a new album, How I’m Feeling Now, which came out May 15. The record’s 11 bittersweet electro-pop tracks document the minutiae of her life under lockdown, including her conversations with her therapist, her online shopping expenditures, her experiences sheltering in place with her boyfriend, and her intense nostalgia for pre-pandemic partying. Charli also churned out supplementary content through every step of her process, including Instagram Live songwriting sessions and a delightfully DIY green-screen video for the love song “Claws,” and this transparency made the project feel like performance art. Concert venues may be closed, but Charli invited her fans to watch and provide feedback over social media as her songs, themes, and visuals took shape in real time. Her lyrics often feel like journal entries: she kicks off “Anthems” with details of a mundane morning (“Wake up late / Eat some cereal”) before breaking into a yearning chorus about the things she misses most while confined to her home, including late-night adventures and exploring New York. Though musicians will likely create a lot of quarantine art in the months and years to come, the genius of How I’m Feeling Now lies in its immediacy—Charli has channeled the current chaos into a fully realized album in a little more than five weeks.   v

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