Charli XCX, Lorde Combine On ‘Girl, so confusing’ Remix – It’s A Milestone

A remix that speaks to much broader themes...

Let’s state the obvious first: the rollout for ‘Brat’ is Charli xcx at her finest. A mixture of chaos and genius, she’s streaked her way across the Atlantic, hosting special parties along the way. The album itself might well be her best, a bravura statement of future-facing pop that refuses to be hemmed in by expectations, while also supplying some truly incredible songwriting. 

After sharing an expanded edition – the knowingly titled ‘Brat and it’s the same but there’s three more songs so it’s not’ – Charli xcx now pulls another ace from the deck: a remix, featuring fellow femme pop trailblazer Lorde.

Bubbling digi-pop with a melody that is infuriatingly catchy, the gloss that is smeared across ‘The girl, so confusing version with Lorde’ builds outwards – while the original was perceived as a Lorde diss track, this remix is essentially an inversion, recasting the song as a statement about the pressure that is placed on young women in the public eye, and how that can be internalised, impacting their relationships with their peers.

On the surface, it’s fun, but the gleaming light – so redolent of PC Music and steered by A. G. Cook – is shot through with an aspect of melancholy. Both a celebration of female energy and a condemnation of the aspects that keep women apart, it’s often revelatory, with Charli and Lorde helping to raise one another up.

In true Charli style the narrative really opens with a voice note, encouraging the two to put differences aside. Lorde’s verse is a reflection of the times she’s been through – “At war with my body… I tried to starve myself thinner” – before opening out still further, to analyse the way people internalise and then project their learned self-hatred on to other people. Will there be a finer, more astute pop lyric this year than “it’s all self-defence until you’re building a weapon”…?

Summarising the friction, Lorde perhaps delivers the most on-point description of Charli xcx we’ve yet heard: “Forget that inside that icon / There’s still a young girl from Essex…”

Another step in the flawless ‘Brat’ rollout, ‘The girl, so confusing version with Lorde’ transcends this, to become a knowing statement on dealing with the unique pressures their lives face, doubling as a killer pop song.

9/10

Words: Robin Murray

-
Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.