• Darby VanDeVeen

"how i'm feeling now" Describes How We're All Feeling During Quarantine

Charli XCX has put out one of the most impressive albums of quarantine. Instead of releasing a project she’s been working on for a while, this album was put together in 5 weeks - from it’s announcement on April 6 to it’s release on May 15. 39 days. That’s remarkable, especially since a lot of artists work and perfect albums, typically releasing them every two years or so.

Entitled “how i’m feeling now,” the album captures the rollercoaster of emotions that a lot of us are going through due to COVID-19. I don’t know if I’ve ever listened to a full album by Charli XCX, but I’ve always liked her sound. I saw her open up for Taylor Swift in 2018 during the reputation world tour. The beats and sounds of her songs each have a different feel to them, but ultimately come together to form one cohesive album.

Charli is helping to rewrite the definition of pop music through her different sounding music, and this album is a reflection of that. One such song that encapsulates this is “anthems,” the tenth track on the album. The verses seem to describe what she’s doing now but the choruses are what she wants to be doing in all of this craziness. “I want anthems/Late night, my friends, New York,” Charli belts on the song. Throbbing sounds and frantic beats recreate the feeling of being out at a club with your best friends, which is the next best thing.

Tapping into a similar message is “c.20.” This song is about friendship and missing your friends. The intro to the song is a little lengthy for me, so I almost gave up on it before hearing the full thing, but I’m glad I did. Right before listening to this song, I got off a Zoom call with some of my friends, so listening to this really struck a chord. Lyrics in this song show how close Charli and her friends are: “I miss them every night/I miss them by my side/Catch my tears when I cry/My clique on me for life.”

detonate” had a different vibe than the rest of the album, since the anger, frustration and self doubt was almost palpable. Quick notes in the background capitalize on the feeling of anxiety, and the lyrics are less positive than the rest of the album. “I can make you feel so sick/Switch your faith and leave you so low...I’m about to detonate/Pull you close and then I’ll be gone.” All throughout quarantine, there have been moments of fear, of frustration, of uncertainty. Emotions like this are hard to ignore and working through them is difficult. “detonate” captures them brilliantly.

If I had to pick a single that would be played on the radio, I would choose “enemy” for sure. The music has the most traditional pop feel out of all of them, and the lyrics are really catchy and fun to sing along to. When talking to Apple Music about the song, Charli wrote this song by playing off of the idea that a close friend could end up being your worst enemy since they have the most ammunition to throw.

Finally, my favorite song of the album is “party 4 u.” Throwing a party for someone who doesn’t show up gives me Great Gatsby vibes so upon listening to it I had visions of a grandiose party, with the host losing more and more hope as it rages on. Specks of gold meshed with pink in my mind as the song opening, since it sounded so hopeful. Charli’s voice sounds pensive in contrast to the light and airy notes in the background.

Raw lyrics and a full range of emotions can be found on “how i’m feeling now.” Longing to see friends, dancing at the club, desire to leave the house. When I listened to it, I heard all of the things that were difficult to express into words, in an album.

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