Written By: Sam Wilson
Charli XCX’s latest mixtape, titled Number 1 Angel, feels like an attempted throwback to the English singer’s earlier work, yet arguably struggles to relive those memories. The mixtape contains 10 songs, featuring the likes of MØ, RAYE, cupcakKe and ABRA
It all kicks off with Dreamer, which starts off with some heavy sci-fi-esque synths and evolves into a bassy rap song. Although the chorus begins to get repetitive with Charli repeating “I’m a dreamer, step step out the Beemer”, the song itself isn’t too bad. It feels a lot like the love-child of Drake and Basshunter with the kind of melodic rap produced by the former and the bassy club-hit nature of the latter. ‘3AM (Pull Up)’, features Danish singer MØ who has collaborated with Iggy Azalea and Major Lazer in the past. ‘3AM ‘definitely feels like a very summery song with an up-beat tempo and high-key melody creating feelings of happiness and beach parties.
The album then dips in quality, in my opinion, with ;Blame It On You,’ which at first I almost mistook for the first track on the album, Dreamer. This is the second of a few songs on the album which sound nearly the same, with a similar beat, melodic composition and vocals. Next is ‘Roll With Me,’ which brings some much needed variety into the mixtape. It seems to be an homage to Ibiza club hits and classics yet suffers from some annoying vocal sampling during the intro. Although the song isn’t great on it’s own, with the mixtape on a whole failing to produce any stand-out songs, it is a welcome break from the first three songs that had a lot in common with each-other.
‘Emotional’ is the slowest song on the album at this point and has a lot more thought put into the lyrics and overall development of the song. The beat is consistent and Charli XCX’s vocals really show up in this song, making it one of my favorites on the album. However, the next track,‘ ILY2,’ returns to the same style as the first few songs on the album just when things were looking to get better. The bass is very heavy and the repetitiveness of the song started to irritate me a bit as I was listening to it.
My favorite song on the album is ‘White Roses,’ which again is much slower than many of the other songs. There is a deep baseline running throughout and the chorus is catchy compared to the rather mundane choruses in the other songs. It feels much different to the others and I believe this song could stand well on its own. ‘Babygirl,’ featuring Uffie, whose vocals bring a lot of needed variety to the album. The start of the track makes it feel like it should be used on a Mario Kart track but generally the song is one of the better on the album. It has an upbeat and cheerful melody, similarly to ‘3AM (Pull Up),’ making it again feel very summery.
The final two tracks on the album are ‘Drugs,’ and “Lipgloss.’ ‘Drugs ‘ is quite possibly my least favorite track as it yet again feels like Dreamer, ‘ILY2 ‘ and ‘Blame It On You.’ The song has very deep bass and chorus suffers from the same repetitiveness as many of the other songs on Number 1 Angel. Finally, ‘Lipgloss’ is the most different and unique track on the album and although the lyrical choices are pretty strange, the melody and beat itself are fairly catch and cheerful. The song features CupcakKe who brings a very unique vocal approach to the song which contrasts heavily with the high-pitch tone of Charli XCX herself and reminds me of Salt-N-Pepa songs like Shoop and Shake Your Thang.
Overall, the mixtape isn’t the most impressive to have come out this year but it certainly isn’t bad. It often gets a little repetitive but this is a problem that many hip-hop and club music artists suffer from and it’s unfair to blame that completely on the singer herself. There were some good songs on the album that I genuinely enjoyed listening to and would listen to again, but there was nothing outstanding that I can comment on.