“I’ma make you my, I’ma make you my / I’ma make you my, I’ma make you my…baby.”
It’s Charli, baby.
The 29-year-old signed douche wholesaler-slash-pop star is deep into her self-described evil major label sell-your-soul era, with her fifth and final studio album with Atlantic Records, Crash, just days away. (It’s out on March 18, to be exact.)
Prior to the release of the record, she’s dropped a few ringtone-length bops along the way over the past few months, including the still fantastic “Good Ones” (which still ends far too soon), “New Shapes” with Caroline Polachek and Christine and the Queens, as well as her September interpolating-“Beg For You” with Rina Sawayama.
On Tuesday (March 1), the “Stay Away” chanteuse returned with her fourth cut from the upcoming collection, called “Baby” – and it’s an instantly addictive hit.
Nearly two years ago, Charli XCX began discussing what would become Crash in interviews, explaining that it was going to be her most straightforward “pop”-sounding project yet, and that Janet Jackson‘s music – and music from the ’80s in general, including Prince and Martika – served as a major influence.
“Baby” feels like the first really obvious product of that inspiration, especially as it grooves its way into its bouncy chorus, which feels like the product of listening to Prince, Vanity 6 and early Janet. The Minneapolis Sound™ is loud and clear!
It doesn’t try too hard to be anything else than what it is: a sleek sex anthem, complete with lusty moans and a yearning “…baby” here and there, but still contains that Charli XCX edge with ample promises to “fuck you up” – in a good way, of course. Or is it?
“You know I’ll break your heart / Tear it into tiny pieces / One more falling star / I’ll shut you away, but you wanna stay,” she ominously declares towards the end, supplying a bit of that True Romance goth grit.
And while “Baby” does still clock in before the 3 minute mark, it also feels like a fully formed song, complete with a bridge. In 2022! Thank God.
She’s also really going for it with the accompanying music video, leaning even further into doing Main Pop Girl choreography by delivering a complete dance clip. And she’s doing it well! Hip thrusts and hair flips aplenty. Get it, Miss Aitchison.
“‘Baby’ was actually one of the first songs that came together for this album. I was working on it with Justin Raisen, and we’d done a lot together for my first ever album, True Romance. So it kind of felt cyclical to go back and with him again on what is my final record in my deal with Atlantic,” she told Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1.
“But obviously so much has changed, and this song, it was kind of the foundation of the vibe of the album. It’s probably the most sexy song I’ve ever made. It’s about sex and sexuality and having good sex and just feeling yourself essentially. I know that that’s the tone. I knew that that was the tone I wanted to carry across for the entire record. This kind of hyper-sexualized, feminine power zone was where I was feeling myself going, and ‘Baby’ was the genesis of this,” she continued.
“Also I think that’s probably why I wanted to challenge myself on the choreo for this song, which was really, really tough and I have so much respect for dancers, professional dancers, anyone who communicates emotion through dance. It is so hard and challenging, but so rewarding.”
Charli’s had some very public ups and downs with the Crash campaign thus far, and even though she might not be on social media at the moment – in part thanks to some rather overly critical fans @-ing her with their feedback…touch grass! – hopefully someone’s letting her know that she’s really done it this time around.
Good work, baby.