Coming off of the release of one of, if not the greatest pop album of the last decade, Charli XCX returns with frequent collaborator Dylan Brady for her new single Claws. Throughout this song she yet again proves her position as one of the most important, influential and unique voices in pop today.
Claws marks the second collaboration between Charli XCX and 100 Gecs producer Dylan Brady this year, after releasing a remix of 100 Gecs’ Ringtone, featuring Kero Kero Bonito and Rico Nasty in January. This track proved to be a fantastic reimagining of a 100 Gecs staple, which not only improved upon the original song, but has become one of the singles of the year.
Charli XCX’s futuristic dance-pop sound blends seamlessly with the aesthetics of 100 Gecs’ abrasive electronic production, and this single proves yet again that together, these two artists are quite possibly the strongest force in pop today.
Brady’s bouncy yet aggressive synth line instantly hooks you into the track. Then, no time is wasted before Charli’s verse melody enters, emphasised by a loud, robust bassline that demands your attention and instantly makes you want to move.
Charli’s vocal performance throughout the track is enhanced by Brady’s production through the way in which he digitises her voice. While it is not the extent it’s used in his work with 100 Gecs, it is to a level that perfectly complements the futuristic aesthetics of the track. The song continues to build, with a simple yet effective trap drum pattern emphasising the similarly simplistic hook on the chorus.
While repetitive hooks like this can become annoying within many pop songs, this line works due to Charli’s stellar delivery and the background instrumentals which continue to hold your attention. Putting emphasis on this simplistic line and turning it into something on another level.
The only area where the track fails for me is with the lyrics. While there is nothing egregiously bad, nothing particularly gets its hooks (claws?) in or adds to the aesthetics. However, since the verse and chorus melodies are so great, this is barely an issue.
The track has a relentless energy, consistently building to the next impressive moment. Of particular note are the transitions from the post-chorus to the verse, with Brady using a soft synth arpeggio to emphasise the return of the bass in the verse, which once again takes centre stage, building up to the always satisfying chorus.
These choices all crescendo to a beautiful conclusion. The abrasive, harsh finale to the track ties everything up and concludes the song in a perfect manner that feels completely earned, providing a euphoric, powerful rush to the listener.
Charli XCX yet again claims her position as one of the most exciting names in pop music, as does Dylan Brady as one of today’s biggest up and comers. With the quality of this single and Charli’s previous single forever, her soon to be released next album looks like one to watch yet again.