Charli XCX shows her nasty side: I'm with the Band: Nasty Cherry review

Fake feminism and manufactured music - Deputy Editor Molly Greeves lets us know why I'm with the Band is no more than a guilty pleasure.

Molly Greeves
23rd December 2019
Image: Youtube
We all love a guilty pleasure, and unfortunately, that’s all that I’m with the Band: Nasty Cherry ended up being. 

Charli XCX tries her hand at being Simon Cowell, putting together an all-female pop group of four incredibly cool, if not always the most musically experienced, women she could find.  

This premise was, of course, going to birth an incredibly manufactured band. As other reviews have pointed out, this show could have provided an opportunity to explore how bands are created in 2019, with social media and hype being valued just as much as the actual music.  

But instead of engaging with any of these pertinent ideas, the band are forced into a pressure-cooker of their own making. Charli XCX says herself in the intro that there is “no road map to success” in the music industry today, yet the girls are forced to conform to a very specific timeline, living up to the pressure of being “the biggest band in the world” five minutes after they meet and before they’ve even made any music. 

It became obvious that the feminist message of the show was performative and vapid

Naturally, the question on your lips after watching this show is: are Nasty Cherry even any good? In my opinion, they’re decent: their first EP, Season One, has some nice jams such as "Music With Your Dad" and "Live Forever". The fact that you can’t hear any of their supposed punk references in their sound reinforces my point that a band’s aesthetic shouldn’t be figured out before they actually start writing songs. But their music isn’t bad by any means, especially considering it was rushed out of them in such a short space of time. 

One of the biggest challenges faced by the girls is that two of them had only just become musicians, and while they were both entertaining to watch on the show (especially Gabriette, because I’m in love with her), the quality of their actual product would have been much higher had Charli XCX chosen band members based on their musical talent. 

Speaking of the devil, let’s talk about Charli XCX in this show. As a creative popstar who has written for pretty much every top 40 artist under the sun, she was a suitable choice for the host of this show. But despite her constantly saying that she “believes in this project”, her on-screen engagement with the band is super minimal, as if she had too much else going on to dedicate her full attention to them. 

What grinded my gears about Charli XCX, and the show in general, was the “female empowerment” message that was continually preached but never practiced. The members of the band seemed on board with the original mission – to create an all-female group that empowered and inspired other women. But after asking if they could work with a female producer, they were yelled at down the phone by Charli who was “fucking offended” at the insinuation that working with male producers made her less of a feminist. At this point in the show, it became obvious that the feminist message of the show was performative and vapid, and while this probably should have been expected from a reality TV show, it was still disappointing to see. 

If you start binge-watching this show with absolutely no expectations, you’ll probably really enjoy it. It’s an easy-to-watch show about a girl band and if you can stomach the usual reality TV fakeness, you’ll have a lot of fun with this show. 

Featured Image: Youtube

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