CHARLI XCX RECLAIMS HER IMAGE AND SOUND ON CATCHY “USED TO KNOW ME”
Charli XCX has been one of the most steadfast British popstars in the music lexicon since the late 2000’s. She proudly writes her own songs, helps to craft tracks for other chart-toppers and embraces her British-Indian roots through her style and music — unlike many U.K.-based singers, one of Charli XCX’s charms is how her accent shines through when she sings. And now, after her recently-released fifth studio album, Crash, she keeps the hits going on her party anthem, “Used to Know Me.”
The entirety of Crash is based around Charli XCX playing the femme fatale — creating music as a defiant woman who needs not prove her worth to anyone. As she’s stated, in relation to how this is her last studio album with Atlantic Records:
“I’ve been signed to a major label since I was 16 … I think I’ve had quite an untypical major-label-artist journey, so it’s interesting to operate within that framework. I suppose this record and the imagery is partially a comment on that. It’s also partially a comment on what authenticity is.”
As such, “Used to Know Me” is a deft critique of those who would pigeonhole her sound. The music video has Charli XCX wearing all manner of outfits alongside her two male backup dancers, from an 80’s workout video to a potentially controversial nun’s habit. She visually shows how many personas she has been and could be, all while singing, “You say I’m turning evil, I’ll say I’m finally pure / Shine bright in my reflection, think I lost myself before” and “Held me back, tied me up inside a cage / Had to change my life ’cause I knew you’d stay the same / Couldn’t see you were standing in my way.”
Charli XCX has never been a fan of labels insofar as her music, so it makes complete sense that she’d release a single from her last major studio album all about breaking away from those who might hold her back in one place — those who “used to know me, now you don’t.” The song may sound like a standard pop hit and the music video may read as the typical sexy fare, but there’s something deeper to Charli XCX this time around — and at the very least, she sounds and looks all the better for her reclamation. Charli XCX is currently on tour in the U.S. and Europe until July 21. Watch and listen to her latest single below!