photo manipulation by nacrowe
been a closet CHARLI XCX fan for some time now.
and not just because she's hot. by now i think i've established my appreciation for artists that flip the script on gender expectations. most of the artists i've written about recently have all been within the PUNK and INDIE genres, where to some extent this is to be expected. CHARLI XCX is firmly in the POP world, having written songs for countless artists from RIHANNA to CAMILLA CABELLO to GWEN STEFANI, SELENA GOMEZ and even BLONDIE.
in an industry where young women are pitted against one another and often find themselves "competing" with the next young bright thing, which is beyond sexist and just sad, i really appreciate her ability to control her image and have fun with it. case in point is her "Boys" video in which she basically directs a video objectifying men. its genius. its absolutely cheeky and over-the-top but proves the glaring double-standard that men are practically NEVER portrayed as passive sex objects. its a pretty jarring upon first view.
the other video i gravitate to is "Superlove" which takes place in the notoriously seedy KABUKICHO district of TOKYO at the completely bonkers ROBOT RESTAURANT. just a little background: KABUKICHO is where kabuki theater originated and if you know anything about Japanese culture, then you know that historically actors at these plays often doubled as prostitutes, giving the arts and specifically this district a sordid reputation. aside from that, it is also one of the most garishly brightly lit places and ROBOT RESTAURANT is at the heart of it all. i went with a friend to this restaurant which had japanese women in bikinis fighting dinosaurs on tanks. i still don't get it, but i love the fact that somebody did a music video there.
i think i'll just end by saying that CHARLI XCX to me is the modern embodiment of the spirit of MADONNA, minus the culture appropriation. MADONNA is definitely a female artist that followed her guns and let society and gender/sexual politics follow her. i'm looking forward to the new soon-to-be-released CHARLI XCX album and it goes without saying that her work is well worth checking out.