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Wreckord Reviews: Sugary sweet with a side of eclectic

Credit: ATLANTIC RECORDS UK

Number 1 Angel is the musical embodiment of candy lip gloss with just enough tand to fend off the cavities.


Nick Reyno | Interrobang | Lifestyles | March 20th, 2017




Charli XCX is in the midst of promoting her upcoming album, which is due in September, but what’s this?

Suddenly we have a mixtape to tide us over until the “Boom Clap” singer’s third album. Released on March 10, her mixtape Number 1 Angel comes to us in a glossy mishmash of collaborations and styles.

The great thing about calling a release a mixtape is that it gives the artist so much room to experiment and take risks. The record label’s mentality of, “Oh it’s not an official release it’s just a side album” means artists can let us see more of their raw and unpolished vision without worrying about tanking their career. This leaves us with tracks like the raunchy sex-driven closer “Lipgloss” or the choppy and always upbeat “Roll With Me”.

Not every song will resonate with you but that’s the great thing about this mixtape; there’s a little bit of something for everybody.

Charli said that the songs came together over the course of about two weeks, which explains why some of the vocal melodies seem a little thrown together at times. Most of the musical missteps on this compilation come from a degree of carelessness, but Charli made up for it by picking an all-star team of featured artists. From MØ’s empowering highlight verse at the end of “3AM” to Uffie’s verse on “Babygirl”, which channels the power of M.I.A. to give an otherwise sweet tooth song a bit of edge. The collaborations on this album aren’t for the sake of dropping names like “After The Afterparty”’s Lil Yachty verse. Each of these rappers and singers bring a unique tone to Number 1 Angel that breathes fresh air into the tracks.

Although this release can be seen as a little more experimental, Charli definitely isn’t shying away from stepping into pop clichés like the car-filled, trap-influenced opener “Dreamer” or the blurred lines of drugs and love in the fast-lane found on “Drugs”. Charli knows how to write a catchy pop track, but two of the best songs on this album come when Charli steps away from the driving upbeat monotony of club-focused music. The tracks in question, “Emotional” and “White Rose”, resonate surprising well considering they sound like they would be more at home on a Lana Del Rey record. That is, if we were to cut away all of Rey’s faux summertime sadness.

Charli seems quite at home with the more intimate vibes given by the soft and lumbering synths that wind their way through these tracks. The songs have an incredibly reflective aura despite the fact that Charli is still singing about sex and wanting lovers she can’t have. Perhaps if Charli gave us an entire album written around these tracks we could finally put Lana Del Rey out of business.

If there’s one thing I can really say about this album, it’s that Charli is keeping us all on our toes. With two unique albums behind her, this mixtape manages to launch itself into an entirely different galaxy. To view this as a pit stop on the road to her next album would be an incredible disservice to the project. Is it as polished and flawless as True Romance or Sucker? No. But does it belong on any pre-drink playlist worth its weight? Damn right it does.

Perhaps the most important thing about this album is that the productions aren’t so thick that they distract from Charli’s vocals. She always seems to cut through and transport us away from the party of the club atmosphere she’s standing in, no matter how verbose and raunchy the rest of the track is (see the sex-filled closer “Lipgloss). On “ILY2” her swooping hook, short as it is, comes to us in a nostalgic fueled haze that feels intimate.

Even the telltale PC Music track “Roll With Me” becomes almost bearable when Charli’s hook comes in to distract us from that annoying car alarm going off in the back of the entire song.

Rating: 3 out of 5