The first peek into Charli XCX’s quarantine album, “How I’m Feeling Now,” proves she’s a fitting voice to deliver us music in the COVID-19 era. On “forever,” the lead single for the new project tentatively due May 15th, her trademark aesthetic of highly-stylized, futuristic and hook-heavy pop feels more at home than ever in today’s climate. And as more artists cancel albums and seclude themselves in their home, it feels as if XCX is finally competing with a home court advantage.
The singer, lyricist and producer has always thrived in situations which quarantined artists find themselves now, ones that rely on leadership skills and self-direction as well as a strong sense of sonic identity. We are living in an experimental, electronic world, one which XCX has been creating and thriving in since 2015, and this is especially apparent on “forever.” Apparently, it takes a global pandemic to finally separate the singers from the artists.
Notably, Charli XCX actually started work on the song before quarantine began. In an Instagram Live session with fans, the singer explained the song felt like the perfect launching off point for her new album that will largely focus on the evolution of her relationship with her boyfriend during quarantine. Lyrically, the track is a love song with somber yet hopeful undertones exploring what the relationship would look like if they cannot make it “forever.” The melancholic chorus hits harder emotionally in a time when no one really knows what forever holds.
Longtime producer A.G Cook and new collaborator BJ Burton provide a lush, fizzy atmosphere for the track that summons the experimental spirit of ‘Pop 2’ more so than 2019’s self titled, ‘Charli’ LP. It’s a welcome change of pace from the collaborative-heavy tracks on both projects that strikes a healthy balance sonically. In terms of solo XCX songs, “forever” is one of her best.
“Forever” is a highly effective electronic ballad that becomes haunting as XCX reminds listeners of the power and existence of a forever with loved ones, amidst even the most uncertain of times. If the upcoming tracks from ‘How I’m Feeling Now’ are even half as good as this one, then we’re certainly in for a treat.