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Charli XCX responds to criticism of “offensive, off-trend” ‘Brat’ artwork

Charli XCX has responded to the criticism she’s received over the cover artwork for her new album ‘Brat’.

The pop artist is due to release her 15-track sixth studio record this summer, having already previewed the project with the club-ready single ‘Von Dutch’.

During a new interview with Vogue Singapore, Charli addressed the reaction to the LP’s minimal lime green cover, which displays the word “brat” in a low-res black font. The artwork does not feature an image of the singer.

“They were like, ‘Why isn’t she going to be on the cover? She needs to be on the cover’,” Charli explained. “Why should anyone have that level of ownership over female artists?”

She continued: “I wanted to go with an offensive, off-trend shade of green to trigger the idea of something being wrong. I’d like for us to question our expectations of pop culture –why are some things considered good and acceptable, and some things deemed bad?

“I’m interested in the narratives behind that and I want to provoke people. I’m not doing things to be nice.”

In a post on X/Twitter on March 14, Charli replied to a fan who said “art directors must be on strike”. The user attached an image including the cover artwork for ‘Brat’ alongside those of Ariana Grande’s ‘Eternal Sunshine’, Dua Lipa‘s ‘Radical Optimism’ and Taylor Swift‘s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’.

“Dear god,” they added, to which Charli responded: “There is literally so much to say on this….” Later, she wrote: “I think the constant demand for access to women’s bodies and faces in our album artwork is misogynistic and boring.”

Another user replied to the latter post, writing: “In any other instance, I feel like this would apply but your album cover is pretty much the absence of a cover…” Charli hit back: “It’s almost like.. you’re onto something! Keep going!”

Elsewhere in the conversation with Vogue Singapore, Charli said that the forthcoming ‘Brat’ “is going to be confrontational”.

“Lyrically, this is quite a different record for me,” she added. “I’ve written the songs almost in the way I would write texts to my friends or based on things I would say to them on FaceTime.

“We talk a lot about pop culture and music and it’s been really fun to gossip about the songs we go. They’ll ask ‘Oh, who is this one about? Is this about a friend? Is it about an ex?’ It has fuelled this fun, gossipy narrative which permeates the album.”

The comments echo those she made to NME last month, when she told us: “It’s kind of bitchy and gossipy and hardcore and very club feeling. It’s definitely one for the girls who like to party and sweat and rave.

“I feel good about the music. Every artist says this about their new record but I really do feel like this is my best music [yet]. I’m super excited.” Watch the full video interview below.

‘Brat’ will see Charli return to her club music roots, and is set to contain a song dedicated to the late singer, producer and DJ SOPHIE, who was her longtime friend and collaborator. She recently debuted the track, titled ‘So I’, live in LA.

In other news, Charli has announced a string of ‘Brat’ live shows and ‘PARTYGIRL’ DJ sets for this summer. Find any remaining tickets here (US) and here (UK).

Additionally, Charli will make an appearance at Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2024 in Luton next month.

Charli XCX last week shared the full official footage from her ‘PARTYGIRL’ set at New York’s Boiler Room in February.

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