Charli XCX has more energy than the Energizer Bunny, as evidenced by the rate at which she releases star-studded collaborations and her own solo bangers. As the reigning queen of avant-pop, she’s shown us many times where she gets her strength: partying, her one true love. But not even she can escape that all that hedonism comes with a downside—and on her latest single, “No Angel,” she scrutinizes her party fouls and considers a more mature path forward.
Given the name of her fanbase—Charli’s Angels—and her 2016 mixtape Number 1 Angel, “No Angel” is a multifaceted title. The song begins with her reveling in her fast-lane lifestyle, which she’s made clear she’ll happily continue until she finds someone worth hitting the brakes for. That time may just be here: On the chorus, Charli pleads with a companion to give her time to mature. “Don’t let me go/I just want to let you know that I’m no angel/But I can learn,” she sings earnestly. The London songwriting trio Invisible Men and SOPHIE join her in the production, creating effervescent ’80s synth pop with bopping chimes and a goopy synth bassline. In the bridge, Charli makes it clear that she and her lover are in too deep: “I get stressed out/It’s too much/The pressure is on,” she sighs. It’s clear that this moment is a tug-of-war between her heady past and a promising future, and Charli is ready to face every uncertain step head-on.