ALBUM REVIEW: ‘Charlotte’ – Charlotte Lawrence

Since 2014, Charlotte Lawrence has slowly been establishing herself as one of pop’s most promising stars. However, she has never truly realised that promise. Her debut EP Young dropped in 2017, and fed into the acoustic-driven EDM Top 40 sound of the time. It was no means bad, but it lacked the spark and individuality that makes someone a star. However, one track on that EP stood out against the rest. ‘Everybody Loves You’ was a moment of raw unfiltered emotion, laying her heart and her pain out for all to see. That moment of vulnerability showed how incredible an artist Lawrence had the potential to be. Fast-forward three years, with Charlotte, she doubles down on that vulnerability, finding herself and her sound in the process.

Not every track on Charlotte is slam dunk. Lead single and opening track ‘Talk You Down’ follows some of today’s Top 40 trends, and is probably the least exciting track here both lyrically and sonically. ‘Slow Motion,’ a stuttering trap-pop number, makes a play for the charts to better success, following in the footsteps of her peers like Ava Max.

As with ‘Everybody Loves You’, Lawrence’s brightest moments are when she lays her emotions out bare, and thankfully the rest of the track list does this wonderfully. Thematically, she explores love and loss across haunting production. ‘You’ is a muted, raw moment, with Lawrence vocals whispering above the piano: “I know it could be anybody/It should be anybody else/Loving you makes me hate you too.” Its lyrics are simple and effective, delivering on all fronts. ‘Sin x Secret’ is a gut-wrenching ballad, built on loose guitar instrumentation with some really wonderfully penned lyrics, exploring her own tendency to let her partners hurt her: “You know I love to cry/But that don’t mean I’ll justify the last few nights.”

Lawrence also experiments with the production on Charlotte. ‘Why Do You Love Me?’ is ripped straight out of Miley Cyrus‘ and Billie Eilish‘s most recent records, with its grinding bass guitar reminiscent of Plastic Hearts tracks ‘Gimmie What I Want’ and ‘WTF Do I Know,’ while its whispered hook and sliding bass torn from ‘You Should See Me In A Crown.’ That being said, Lawrence does it well, which makes it easier to overlook the fact that she strays a bit too close to copycat territory. Elsewhere, Lawrence borrows from other artists to better results. ‘Cowboys,’ which is a true standout and easily the strongest track on the EP, is a dark, ominous electro-pop cut about a guy with a wandering eye that borrows from some of pop’s most legendary records like Britney SpearsBlackout and Taylor Swift‘s reputation. Everything from production to lyricism to Lawrence’s vocal performance work together to really elevate this song to another level.

Charlotte Lawrence has long been unable to truly capitalise on the potential she has displayed – but with Charlotte she wades through heartbreak and pain to find both herself and her sound, emulating some of pop’s finest to fully execute a cohesive vision both thematically and sonically and creating a work truly worthy of someone with such promise.

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