The Britneys, Mileys, Katies and Ladies of the radio waves can give up. No megastar in 2013 is topping the pure pop thrills of Charli XCX's debut, True Romance. Teenagers are smarter than the mainstream treats them. For every high schooler hoisting a red Solo cup filled with sorbet-flavored diet vodka to the dumb thump of Selena Gomez, there is one reading Chekhov and Rookie under posters of Theda Bara and Siouxsie Sioux. Of course, it never breaks down that simply. Charlotte Aitchison, a.k.a. Charli, bridges the worlds of goths, jocks, pretty girls, theater kids, shopaholics and brains. In other words, she's the Breakfast Club balled into one. The Brit, just 20, sings and raps through a cotton candy smog of synthesizers and bustling drum patterns. "What I Like," one of her many highlights (she has as many as streaks in her black tousle), sounds like a Mousketeer gone witchhouse. Her voice can also be heard on one of the biggest, giddest chart smashed of the year, Icona Pop's "I Love It." She can open for Coldplay and give Pitchfork a boner. That's a rare feat. She says it best on record: "This shit is super cool. This shit is kinda gangsta." The only downside to this bargain gig is that those under 18 are not allowed. I mean, Tavi Gevinson can't get in?
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