TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2016 |
Posted by: Don Saas
2013 saw the release of True Romance, part of my holy trinity of 2010s pop records alongside Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster and Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion. Charli XCX's dark-pop masterpiece had more hooks than the prop closet of I Know What You Did Last Summer but it didn't sacrifice its subversive edge for memorability (not that artists ever have to do this...this is a false dichotomy). Sucker was great in its own way, but there are few pop records that I've listened to on repeat as endlessly as True Romance. I had the chance to interview Charli XCX at Bonnaroo 2013 (only for my voice recorder with it and three other interviews to get stolen before I could transcribe them), and during our conversation, it was clear how passionate and (most importantly) thoughtful she is about her music, her image, and the industry more generally. That's why I couldn't be more excited that she's starting her own label.
Having your own label imprint is the du jour move for ambitious musicians these days. Here are some artists w/ their own labels: Mumford & Son's Ben Lovett (Communion), Bon Iver's Justin Vernon (Chigliak), The National's Aaron Dessner (Brassland), and the list goes on and on. It's a chance for artists who've experienced success to give back to bands that they think have potential and that excite them as music lovers even though these bands might not necessarily be ready for major label (or major indie) signings. And if there's any artist working right now that I want to see helping to shine a spotlight on emerging talent, it's Charli XCX.
Charli XCX has a clear and deep love for classic pop...even pop that may not seem especially hip to like. But she leavens that ear for bubblegum hooks with substance and the sort of mature embracement of sexuality, the self, and aggression that women in mainstream pop music are rarely afforded. People like that kind of pop music. Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion wasn't as dark/nearly transgressive as something like True Romance but it had personality. It had craft. And both are sorely lacking in the contemporary radio pop scene. And if Charli XCX is able to lift up artists who share her dedication to music that is both infectiously memorable while also having something to say beyond just the surface, that makes the entire scene better.
Today, Charli XCX officially announced her new label, Vroom Vroom Recordings, as well as the first, self-titled EP that the label will be releasing. She also previewed three tracks from the record, one of her own and a track apiece from RIVRS and Cuckoolander. And it's precisely what we're hoping to hear from Charli XCX's new label...a mix of pop and bigger ideas. Color us 100% excited for when we can hear this EP and these tunes in their entirety.