Charli XCX, Clairo, Yaeji, and the Pop Futurism of "February 2017"
There is no other pop star in this known universe quite like Charli XCX. A true pop savant, the English singer and songwriter feels as comfortable alongside the mainstream commercial-leanings of any of today's biggest artists as she does exploring newfound territory alongside the likes of SOPHIE and Lizzo. Her latest feat merges those two parallel worlds, presenting a commercially viable pop song for tomorrow.
"February 2017," the latest single from her highly-anticipated third studio album Charli, sees the English singer and songwriter enlisting Clairo and Yaeji. Joined by two artists who are similarly blazing a path forward in their own respective genres, "February 2017" dives headfirst into the marriage of Charli XCX and Clairo's traded wistful vocals, which become nearly indistinguishable from one another. "I feel like crying/ Hope you can forgive all of my crimes/ You read but won't reply/ I feel like cry," the intermingled vocals call out to infinity and a person unlikely to answer back.
At its core, "February 2017" is a tried-and-true heartbroken pop ballad. Yet, it is in transforming these standard musical conventions into works of epic proportions where Charli XCX truly begins to shine. From the balancing of futuristic production flourishes and outright moments of explosive catharsis, courtesy of PC Music head A.G. Cook and Planet 1999, to a haunting, intimate verse from Yaeji, "February 2017" is Charli XCX at her best and most candid. Charli XCX spoke on the last single, sharing in an Instagram post,
"This song is basically about me being a shitty person and doing something really hurtful to someone so brilliant and amazing in February 2017. This song is about asking for forgiveness."
For the most part, the things people write and sing about will likely stay the same for years to come. Love, heartbreak, fear, anxiety, self-doubt, and eventual triumphs are all at the core of the human, and in turn, music experience. The distinguishing aspect of Charli XCX is that she has the power to take that universal human experience and place it in a musical context that is lightyears ahead of its time.
Listen to "February 2017" below: