Charli XCX and Carly Rae Jepsen's orbits have been circling for about a year now. Both are pop artists who restlessly seek out both outrageous and subtle sounds to shape their songwriting, and are loosely connected by PC Music, the avant-pop production fun house that have been flexing more Top 40 treats while still mixing in plenty of weirdo tricks.
"Backseat" opens Charli XCX's absolutely guest-packed new mixtape, setting a more subdued mood for POP 2 than March's pop-agnostic Number 1 Angel. The synths drip like the darker back half of E•MO•TION, its pulse quickened by each piece of the triptych chorus. Charli XCX takes the first half, Jepsen the second, as they join in a saturnine meditation on loneliness where the final minute sees both voices manipulated into drilled and ecstatic beats.
The two had met at a "very bizarre late-night jam session," Charli XCX tells The Fader:
She'd been working with Patrik Berger and Justin Raisen in L.A. I got there really late, and they were partying. It turned into this long jam, where everyone was ad-libbing on the mic, and there were guitar solos happening. I think we spoke about doing stuff then. There was also this tweet a while ago with a picture with myself, Carly, and Lorde, and people were very excited about the possibility of a collaboration. When I thought about the mixtape, I got reminded of that, and the fact that Carly and I had spoken about doing stuff, and she's really into A. G. and all of the PC Music world.
Still waiting on that "hot girl band," though. One can hope.
POP 2 is out now via Atlantic Records. You can stream the mixtape below, featuring contributions by MØ, CupcakKe Caroline Polachek (formerly of Chairlift), Tove Lo, Alma and more.