New Music: Charli XCX – You (Ha Ha Ha)

Hip young pop musician Charli XCX returns with her new single “You (Ha Ha Ha)” and its attendant music video.  The song makes use of a sample from Gold Panda and is an infectious electronic pop song, very typical of Charli’s work.

Charli is a gifted singer; her voice is rich and capable of hitting strong emotional notes.  There is a maturity to her voice that is surprising from someone as young as she is.  On the other hand, she’s a veteran of more than nine years in the music industry so perhaps that experienced voice shouldn’t be too much of a shock!

The music itself is a shimmering, well produced electronic pop that would be quite at home on a dance floor in a club and will remix really well.  The Gold Panda sampled beat is utterly huge and is ultra modern, feeling like a blend of eastern and western influences.  The original song that Charli has sampled (also called You) is well worth a listen.  Apparently Gold Panda was asked if he wanted to be credited on the single as Charli XCX featuring Gold Panda but he declined.

There’s been some criticism of Charli’s work; that she’s over produced and a “pop product” but this probably quite unfair.  She’s been an underground artist for quite some time.  Whilst she’s far from a punk or anti establishment, she’s worked very hard from  a young age to achieve a break and she’s certainly a damn sight more talented than some of the pop “singers” you might see on X-Factor.

The lyrics are a proud and confident girl power paen about how “You” have lost her and fucked it up.  It’s a brash song, full of imagery of her not being interested in this guy and how it was his loss, his mistake.  This is in keeping with the lyrics of the superb “Stay Away” and an interesting contrast to the love-sick “You’re The One”.

Whilst her mixtape “Super Ultra” was a disappointment (to me), the rest of her work evokes a gothic cool and has a good beat to it.  The remixes have largely been very good.

However the video really rankled me.  An upbeat, frothy remake of girl power it was made in October of last year before the Sandy Hook shootings.  But it still glamorises guns and gunplay, with Charli and other young attractive girls wielding guns like accessories.  Charli herself has tried to justify and apologise for this, stating that in the video they are seen loading lipstick into the guns but I don’t feel like this is a much better symbol.

I don’t find it too hard to divorce the song from the video though, which is probably unnecessary for those that see the video as just a piece of attractive, well produced fun.

The song itself is a strong pop song which, with a little luck, may give Charli the big break she’s worked so hard for.

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