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The summer of Charli XCX

Ready for your Brat Era?

The summer of Charli XCX Ready for your Brat Era?

Charli XCX is in her Brat Era. The singer has just released her sixth studio album, announced a North American tour with Troye Sivan titled Sweat, reunited the current it girls in a video, gained fans with her sound, style, and a series of fun and unfiltered TikToks, and has no intention of slowing down her rise to success. Increasingly poised for worldwide popstar acclaim, she's ready to capture the attention of those who already love her and those who don't know her yet. Not only has she just given us the soundtrack for the coming months, but also the aesthetic, a blunt, unapologetic, "bratty" mood, as the 31-year-old Brit would say.

Brat, the new album

@bbcsounds Today signals the start of BRAT SUMMER and we are here for it… #brat #charlixcx Listen to Sidetracked on BBC Sounds #podcast original sound - BBC Sounds

On June 7, Brat was released in two versions: the standard with 15 tracks and the deluxe with three additional tracks. Inside, electronic beats, many club moments, and refined pop alternate, with lyrics tackling themes like insecurity, motherhood, feeling inadequate, competitiveness, ambition, and envy among women. There are dancy tracks like Club Classics, B2B, and the lead single Von Dutch, as well as 360, accompanied by a music video full of guest appearances, including Chloë Sevigny, Julia Fox, Emma Chamberlain, Hari Nef, Chloe Cherry, and Gabriette. The result? A success. In its debut weekend, it reached number one on Spotify's Top Albums Debut Global and Top Albums Debut USA and entered the Top Songs Debut Global and Top Songs Debut USA with two tracks (Talk Talk and Sympathy Is a Knife).

The album cover becomes a meme

Unexpectedly, it wasn't just the music that caught attention, but even more so the album cover. The star opted for an acid green background with the word "Brat" in lowercase Arial Narrow font. The concept and artwork are intentionally minimalistic, low resolution. Charli XCX explained the reasons behind this choice in an interview: "I don’t want to give you something pretty, I want to make you think. I want to push you to ask: why does it bother you that my face isn’t on the cover? What does it say about pop culture that it bothers you so much? What does it say about what you expect from artists? What does it say about me as an artist? Does doing this make me stupid? Or maybe brave? Does it make me lazy? There are so many reflections you can have looking at the cover, and I think they’re more interesting than 'oh my God, look how sexy she is.' But maybe it’s a fine arts conversation". In some way, Charli XCX achieved the desired result because the cover inspired several memes, a wave of acid green content flooding social media.

Brat Summer, a matter of style (and acid green)

@fairychael u all better be too #charlixcx #brat #bratsummer #green #queer #music Sympathy is a knife - Charli xcx
@okcool #bratsummer is in, and we’re here for it. Also gabriette is engaged!! #gabriette #mattyhealy1975 #bratcharliexcx #charliexcx #brat original sound - OK CL


360 - Charli xcx
@ray_hopkinson #brat #charlixcx #fyp #ootd @Charli XCX Sympathy is a knife - Charli xcx

Brat has also become the mood of the coming months, but what does it mean? The term has existed for a long time and is related to BDSM, where it indicates a specific type of submissive. In the more pop conception borrowed from Charli XCX’s album, it refers to an unapologetic girl who wants to enjoy the complexities of being a woman, the kind of person who one day feels super hot and ready to conquer the world, while the next day can feel fragile, vulnerable, and unwilling to censor any side of herself. Even in terms of style, she is as versatile and multifaceted as her mood. She can wear a cropped t-shirt and nu metal bermuda shorts, sweatpants and a hoodie, micro shorts and a Y2K top, sunglasses and knee-high boots, or a girly dress, grunge makeup, and a Saint Laurent piece. In an interview with the BBC, Charli was asked what the essential elements of a Brat summer were, after the host mentioned seeing her on a speedboat. Her response: "Yeah, it can go that way, kind of luxury. But it can also be so trashy. Just like a pack of cigs, a Bic lighter, and a strappy white top with no bra. That’s kind of all you need". What should not be missing? A touch of acid green, a color loved and chosen for their FW24 collections by Prada, Gucci, and Fendi.