In pop music, there are rare moments when a vocalist and a producer create something so cohesive, that they become almost inextricable from each other. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. With the release of the Vroom Vroom EP, Charli XCX and Sophie have thrown their names into the ring. They have also created the most thrilling 12 minutes of pop music released in 2016 so far.
On the title track, Charli spits girl’s night rhymes over a slinky electronic bass line. The song then pulls off a complete reversal by shifting to a chorus that sounds like a lost 90’s Mariah Carey track, before shifting again to reveal a second, equally dissonant hook.
The whole time, Sophie is sprinkling in odd sound effects that sound like they were pulled from a game of Bop It. On “Paradise,” Sophie’s PC Music labelmate Hannah Diamond joins the duo for a soaring love song that may have been pulled straight from a Dance Dance Revolution game. “Trophy” sees Charli delivering a blisteringly explicit cheerleader routine. Here, the pair skips a traditional chorus entirely and instead swaps in a cleverly deployed “Pulp Fiction” sample.
The project closes with “Secret (Shh)”, which whispered, aggressively seductive verses, and a jaw dropper of a hook, that sees Sophie layering in sirens and car engines, among about a half-dozen other samples.
This is pop music that torches down rules while still being incredibly listenable, and it makes the prospect of a full length project extremely exciting.
Music Desk, Josh Buck
I’m an almost annoyingly outspoken feminist who loves writing about gender and race in mainstream art. I once had to be almost physically removed from Disneyland because my friends said it’s not cool to be the very last person in the park. I can’t wait to graduate in the spring so I can point my car West with no money and no plan, and spend months seeing the country, writing and meeting people.