Charli XCX accomplished a major feat by completing a quarantine album in just 39 days. As consuming content becomes more and more of isolated peoples’ lives, the British pop star wrote and produced a polished pop album in a little over a month as a gift to fans hungry for more music. The new music is a relief showing that upbeat jams can still be made and enjoyed during these lonely times.
Pop by its very nature is current, and re-listening to pre-pandemic pop music can grow stale because of its intent to be heard among crowds. How I’m Feeling Now is refreshing with its uplifting dance beats, especially when the future of large gatherings is still pending. Her quarantine album arrives like a beacon of dance-pop and helps crack the lethargic state a lot of people have found themselves in.
Taking a massive project like an album, that usually takes months if not a year or more, and boiling it down to five weeks was a sprint of production that has taken its toll on the singer. In an Instagram post posted a few days after How I’m Feeling Now was released, she wrote, “i was so focused on pushing myself, finishing my work and distracting myself from the actuality of the current state of the world that now i’ve come out the other side i feel very lost, overwhelmed and fragile.”
The music, similar to the production process, serves as a response and distraction for both the musician and her audience in these uncertain times. People need a distraction though, as it is tough to fathom the sheer numbers of affected people as well as the uncertain future waiting for us. For Charli XCX’s mostly young, club-attending audience, this album is a reminder to stretch those dance moves, because there is a lot of pent-up energy people are desperate to exercise.
It is an admirable act that in this time when people can seal themselves off, she threw herself headfirst in a creative endeavor and turned it around so quickly for her fans. The release of How I’m Feeling Now is a positive addition and a spark of new that helps make the everyday mundane more palatable.
All art is subject to the time when it was made. While artists are weighing the benefits of releasing their pre-planned albums now or waiting for touring to resume before releasing new content, Charli XCX created a solid album full of unique dance anthems responding to the immediate uncertainty. For fans of synth-pop, How I’m Feeling Now shows that good work can still be done with remote collaboration and the drive to create.