Single Review: New Shapes - Charli XCX ft. Christine and The Queens and Caroline Polachek

Leo Dawson reviews Charli XCX's new single, New Shapes

Leo Dawson
4th November 2021
Charli XCX via Youtube
"Charli, Caroline, Chris." This synthed up banger from pop music's Unholy Trinity heralds superstar XCX's fifth album Crash, announced for 2022 with an international tour to top it all off.

The second single from Charli XCX's upcoming fifth studio album has arrived and much like this Summer's 'Good Ones', it brings with it a killer hook and stunning threefold vocals. As Charli leans into the darkness and self-destructive world of pop music for this final album in her record deal with Atlantic Records, this anthem plays with the completely unironic sound of pop with a capital 'P' that XCX, despite carving out a tremendous PC Music niche across the years, has proven time and time again comes as second nature to her.

Echoing verses and punchy synth chords are a staple of all three of these artists' work, but 'New Shapes' is still a traditional Charli track. Touching upon both past and present XCX-isms, the dreamy bridge and earworm hook 'What you want...I ain't got it", makes this single play very much like the spiritual sister to fan-favourite 'Gone', from 2019 self-titled album Charli.

Charli is no stranger to collaboration and the featured artists are no exception, previously collaborating with Christine and The Queens on the above-mentioned 'Gone' in 2019 and Caroline Polachek on 2017 mixtape Pop 2. All three stars' instantly recognisable vocals, from XCX's accented vocoder, to Christine's deft and romantic navigation of Lotus IV and Deaton Chris Anthony's production, to Polachek's continuously mind-blowing range across the bridge (fresh off the back of her own summer smash-hit) will be welcomed with open ears by fans of any and all of these pop icons.

Crash is set to be a swift U-turn from 2020's how i'm feeling now, Charli's quarantine album written and produced entirely under the restrictions of lockdown which, uncharacteristically for XCX, featured no other artists. Fans have instead been promised contribution by new and old stars from the XCX catalogue on this upcoming record - A.G. Cook, Rina Sawayama, Digital Farm Animals, and many more. If 'New Shapes' and 'Good Ones' are emblematic of Crash's standing in Charli XCX's discography, listeners may well be set for their new favourite pop album come 2022.

'New Shapes' by Charli XCX ft. Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek is available to stream now. Crash is available to pre-order now.

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