How Do We Make Art About Our New Solitude? Look to Charli XCX

Charli XCX live at O2 Academy Brixton, London UK on 31st October 2019RMV via ZUMA

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Charli XCX is going transparent. The pop guru announced this week that she’ll be writing, recording, and producing her next album, how i’m feeling now, with only the “tools I have at my fingertips to create all music, all artwork, all videos… everything.”

Her everything, it seems, includes fans. She’s playing demos for them over Instagram Live, asking them to shoot her music video, and dropping “forever” stems to remix. It’s a rapid process. The album drops in a mere six weeks, May 15. She wrote and wrapped the first single “forever,” she says, in two days. The speed fits the title: now. You can watch her work out the lyrics of “forever” two days before the track dropped. She is already playing new demos for fans today.

“forever” is classic Charli. It’s repetitive, vocally synthesized down to the last note. It’s lovelorn reverb over an abrasive “is-my-computer-possessed-or-is-that-just-the-beat” production.

For every “I Got It” there’s a “Lucky,” every “Shake It” there’s a “White Mercedes,” but “forever” finds Charli dead center. Bouncing atop aggressive cyber-pop is an ode to Charli’s long distance relationship. “You stay right in front, in the front of my mind, front of my mind, in the front of my mind” she sings three or four times over. It’s an impressive feat, knowing who you are and what you do, and Charli doesn’t stumble packaging it all together in under 72 hours.

Charli’s messy (read: honest) and public process of creation is newly collaborative at time when many of us are more alone.  Maybe the only way to make art about our new solitude, it seems, is to try to bridge it.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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