Words by Sean Moeller, Illustrated by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews at 2KHz at Church Studios in Crouch End, London
The damnedest thing about the actual implementation of young love is that it's susceptible to so much. It's as white hot as anything could ever be and that doesn't mean a thing. It could be a colossal nightmare the following day, once the glazed eyes have cleared, the blood has stopped flowing so heavily and the grabby hands have stopped their instinctive pawing for the softest and warmest parts. It's not that there aren't any guarantees. It's more than that. There aren't even any good, confident bets to be made.
The young UK sensation, Charli XCX, brings these revelations to the podium and she makes us believe that it would be wisest to just step cautiously when any eyes are locking or, just as much so, when any eyes are diverting themselves awkwardly from where they'd like to land. Her songs have all moved past those initial interactions, but only so far into the relationship to where we're thinking that it's not quite over yet, even when things seem to be on the rocks, or that the ink has dried on the hastily written final page. Not all that much irreconcilable damage has been done. Some feelings have been hurt. Often fairly seriously, but they're the kind of feelings that can be rejuvenated in a heartbeat. You question how anyone might be able to compare the severing of a relationship to being through a season of nuclear war, as if there were some atom-bomb wielding heartbreakers playing out a 162-game season, waiting for someone to be crowned Mr. October and subsequently doused with expensive champagne and beer.
Charli, who works with less weird and quirky beats than another contemporary in Canada's Grimes, but occasionally sounds like a less rambunctious young Gwen Stefani, charts a course through the boughs and the eves of her unfortunate interactions with people that she's thought very highly of, people that she's shared a bed with. We're never really privy to any of the incriminating facts, but she makes it clear that she was roughed up, even when she was prepared to be in those arms for a while, loving the cage that she'd found.
You wonder about the foundation of love sometimes, when she compares an initial reaction to someone as feeling like she was being choked "with words of wonder." She sings, "I knew you were no angel, but god, what did I do?" The chorus rings in what she wants to happen and that's a complete break from this person who should have been suspected as unstably hers from the outset. She gets mixed up with forked tongued ones often and it keeps things interesting, perhaps just hotter and colder - more intense on both ends, along with a fireworks display in the middle.