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Illustration by Madison Cohen

In early April, when Charli XCX deleted every post on her Instagram, her fans knew something new was coming. Shortly after, Charli announced that she would write and produce her fourth album in its entirety from her Los Angeles home while social-distancing, titled “how i’m feeling now.”

“I’ve never opened up to this extent,” Charli told Apple Music. “It’s important for me to write about whatever situation I’m in and what I know.”

This new project turned out to be her most collaborative effort with her fans. Leading up to the album release, Charli met with fans over video calls to update them, co-write a song and decide which singles would be released first. Fans chose artwork for singles such as “claws” and “i finally understand.” They also had the opportunity to send in footage to be shown in the “forever” music video.

The rest of the tracks explore feelings of loneliness and the yearn for going to parties and concerts with incredibly textured sounds not found anywhere else. This experimental album has something for everyone, from party girls to sad girls.

“Pink diamond” and “claws” are aggressive tracks that may not come to mind when one thinks of pop music. As typical as the lyrics are, the tracks launch an assault on the senses mixing Britney Spears with almost satanic sounds that aren’t for everyone.

Charli even gave an ode to her boyfriend in “7 years” and “i finally understand” talking about their past relationship troubles, how they are moving past them and how quarantine has brought them closer together.

The most vulnerable track “party 4 u” explores the sadness of throwing someone a party and they don’t show up. The painful lyrics hit the listener in the heart talking about disappointment accompanied by the track’s cinematic production.

“Anthems” encompassed what many have felt during quarantine – boredom and wanting to finally leave home to party. Charli sings about her mundane routine during quarantine and how badly she wants to go back to her life before the pandemic.

The album's closing song “visions” gives the listener a flashback to when it was safe to be lost in crowds at a concert. In this track, Charli talks about her partner and imagining their future together and ends with an intense beat only found at raves. This fast-paced conclusion leaves the listener wanting more from Charli and her avant-garde style.

Charli leaves her fans with the perfect futuristic-sounding summer album that’s eagerly waiting to be played at parties in the future, whenever that may be.

Rating: 8/10