- Charlotte Emma Aitchison is a pop star with an outsized personality and a visual aesthetic that verges on gaudy. Her style lends itself well to PC Music, so Aitchison's latest EP as Charli XCX, a SOPHIE collaboration called Vroom Vroom, makes sense. The record inaugurates Aitchison's label of the same name, which she calls a platform for "experimental pop." With SOPHIE behind all four tracks, Vroom Vroom is a gutsy move from Aitchison.
The title track dates back to last year, and it makes a great case for SOPHIE as a Top 40 pop producer. It's fragmented, but he dials down the weirdness to make room for Aitchison's melodies. Her heavily-accented voice and lighthearted lyrics align her with PC Music's usual aesthetic. By the time she's sailed into the twilit ending, it feels like the song has gone in seven different directions without ever tugging too hard in one—a nice example of how to make pop sound avant-garde.
On the other three songs, it sounds like singer and producer are still learning how to work together. They skew darker on "Secret (Shh)," and though SOPHIE's goth-trap instrumental (co-produced with Jodie Harsh) is among his best, Aitchison's low register can't carry the track. Hannah Diamond appears alongside A.G. Cook on the cloying "Paradise," which is sickly sweet, even by PC Music's standards. At its best, it's a beautiful piece of uplifting, unironic Eurodance, but the pitched-up sections are more grotesque than cutesy. Aitchison raps through silly, boastful lyrics on "Trophy," an oddball B-side that resembles SOPHIE's Madonna collaboration, "Bitch I'm Madonna." At least when Aitchison stumbles, it's usually because she's trying something new.
01. Vroom Vroom
02. Paradise feat. Hannah Diamond
04. Secret (Shh)