Why Charli XCX Says She ‘F***** Herself’ With ‘Break the Rules’
Charli XCX continues to carve out a place for herself in the pop star hierarchy. She is more than willing to experiment with her sound and explore new ideas with leftist producers while achieving mainstream success that expands her reach in the music industry. One of Charli’s first singles was “Break the Rules” in 2014. The song garnered a lot of praise at the time. But the artist has since said that in hindsight, she would have left the track on the cutting room floor.
‘Break the Rules’ was one of Charli XCX’s first big hits
“Break the Rules” was the second single from Charli’s second album, Suction cup. The rebellious pop song contains hints of pop-punk and dubstep.
“The song is inspired by a lot of things I was listening to in Sweden at the end of last year,” she told News Feed at the time. “I spent about a month making a punk record and covering songs from Swedish punk bands like Snuffed By The Yakuza and all that. This song was written when I came out on the other side of that punk phase and that I translated it into something more pop. Of course, it’s a question of not giving it ***.
It’s not the most sophisticated song. But it’s catchy. And the sheer attitude Charli displays in her voice has touched a number of critics. They cited the track as one of the reasons she was considered a rising young star. The appeal of “Break the Rules” was less clear to the general public. The single was certified gold in the United States but reached No. 91 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Despite the praise, she regrets doing the song
Whenever the topic of “Break the Rules” comes up, Charli reaffirms her distaste for the song. In a 2017 interview with Q Magazine, she was firm in her rejection of the merits of the single. “It was so bad. I hate it. I wrote it at a writing camp for other artists with Benny Blanco and Stargate, and I was like, ‘Whoever sings this song is an idiot. ” **** myself.”
In 2020, the artist called the song “a song in my life that I didn’t feel good about when I made it” in a career conversation with Red Bull. (Discussion of this album begins around 25:40 of the video.) Charli had a much more nuanced perspective on “Break the Rules” when speaking to Vulture in March 2022. She acknowledged that she only released the song because the label convinced her it would be a hit.
“I will say when I play it, it kicks in. I would never play it on my own show. It’s like a little party thing that I’m going out. When I was opening for Taylor [Swift]a lot of people who were at the show and were completely confused by a song like “Vroom Vroom” would actually have the same kind of experience with “Break the Rules” in that they might identify me as “a girl with attitude,” she said. “The song sounded familiar. That’s why it’s still in my back pocket, just in case.
Charli still feels the need to vet people who dare to place the single too high in her discography. She was okay with a fan account on Twitter who took issue with the Consequence of Sound website naming “Break the Rules” as his best song of all time.
Charli XCX is much more proud of the rest of its catalog
Charli’s albums have branched off in various directions since the Suction cup days. Now she has the clarity of vision to know which songs she should give to other artists and which to keep for herself.
His main takeaway from this album was to double down on his own tastes without worrying about how people with less eccentric interests (aka Atlantic Records) would react to his music. The bet paid off for her. Charli is far from the most prominent artist in the world. But her frequent collaborations with the PC Music collective and late electronic innovator SOPHIE helped her create her own hyperpop path with very few imitators.
In that same Vulture piece from above, the singer was asked to define songs by specific superlatives. The track she wants to get more attention is “Stay Away”, the first single from her debut album. true romance.
Pop 2 Highlight “Unlock It (Lock It)” is getting late praise (“We knew it was an iconic bop”) after doing a few errands on TikTok. But the songs Charli says she’s most proud of are “Vroom Vroom” (“af****** masterpiece”), “Track 10” (“so euphoric and symphonic in the way it is built”), and Crash “Constant Repeat” (“the perfect marriage between my more experimental instincts and very classic pop.”)
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