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Does Charli XCX want to be a big pop star? Do her fans want her to be one?
The 29-year-old singer and songwriter, whose fifth studio album, “Crash,” came out earlier this month, has inspired a mountain of discourse since the release of her debut, “True Romance,” in 2013. Her prodigious output — which has encompassed dreamy pop, punky new wave, spiky and noisy electronic music and more conventional pop over a series of albums, EPs and mixtapes — can be seen as commentary on pop music itself, an experiment to push the boundaries of the major-label system, the result of a firm commitment to collaboration, or simply the bold wanderings of a curious and sometimes chaotic creative mind.
A sub-narrative following her journey, however, has been the size of her stardom. Charli XCX has written on blockbuster hits for other artists. Does she choose to release the kind of music that will make her a superstar? “Crash,” the final album of her Atlantic Records deal, opened at No. 7 this week, a career high.
On this week’s Popcast, The New York Times’s pop music editor Caryn Ganz sits in for Jon Caramanica, hosting a conversation about Charli XCX’s unconventional major label career, her sonic evolutions, her complex relationship with her listeners and the successes and missteps on “Crash.”
Hazel Cills, an editor at NPR Music
Shaad D’Souza, a writer who contributes to Pitchfork, The Fader, Paper and others
Connect With Popcast. Become a part of the Popcast community: Join the show’s Facebook group and Discord channel. We want to hear from you! Tune in, and tell us what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow our host, Jon Caramanica, on Twitter: @joncaramanica.