Last month, Charli XCX told Rolling Stone that she’s ready for her “main pop-girl moment” — and with the drop of her newest single “Baby,” it appears that moment has arrived for the 29-year-old singer.
The suggestive single, which appears on Charli’s upcoming record Crash, is accompanied by a music video directed by Imogen Strauss and Luke Orlando.
“Baby” ditches the usual music video bombast for simplicity, utilizing a single interior set decorated with minimalist decor and unobtrusive editing. It’s an effective choice, as the lack of visual distraction allows Charli to command attention with every over-hair flip and leg lift.
Flanked by two backup dancers, Charli moves about the small space with ease, executing each move — backbends, shimmies and body rolls — with a sultry, pointed precision that evokes pop stars past. It’s only a matter of time before fans start recreating the video’s slick choreography on TikTok.
The song — which finds Charli beckoning an unidentified love interest with the promise of “I’ma fuck you up” — isn’t without its detractors. Hours after “Baby” dropped, some fans took to social media to share their disappointment in the song and the singer’s pop diva transformation, prompting an impassioned response from Charli herself. “I’m in great shape, I’m dancing, I’m progressing and I’m living my best life,” she said on Twitter, adding in another tweet, “I’m not being forced to dance — totally my choice and one of the most liberating and fun decisions I’ve ever made.”
“I’ve always been interested in the idea of what a “sellout” is in modern-day pop music and if it even exists… I suppose this record and the imagery is partially a comment on that,” the singer said of Crash in her recent Rolling Stone interview. “I think artists feel they need to really prove that they wrote their own songs, that they direct their own music videos, that they are the brain behind everything. As I got older, I began to care less and less about that because I know I can write a great pop song and I know I can communicate my vision.”
Crash is set for release on March 18, with Charli embarking on a North American tour in support of the record beginning on March 26 in Oakland, Calif. The tour wraps on April 29 in Chicago before heading to the U.K. and Europe.