True Romance (Charli XCX album)

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True Romance
Studio album by Charli XCX
Released 12 April 2013 (2013-04-12)
Recorded 2010–13
Length 47:02
Charli XCX chronology
Super Ultra
True Romance
Singles from True Romance
  1. "Stay Away"
    Released: 15 May 2011 (2011-05-15)
  2. "Nuclear Seasons"
    Released: 20 November 2011 (2011-11-20)
  3. "You're the One"
    Released: 14 June 2012 (2012-06-14)
  4. "You (Ha Ha Ha)"
    Released: 8 February 2013 (2013-02-08)
  5. "What I Like"
    Released: 17 May 2013 (2013-05-17)

True Romance is the second studio album by English recording artist Charli XCX, released on 12 April 2013 by Asylum Records and Atlantic Records. It was the singer's major record label debut. Originally scheduled for release in April 2012, the album's release was delayed for a full year and has been in the making since early 2010 when Charli met with producer Ariel Rechtshaid in Los Angeles. In support of the album's release, Charli embarked on a three-date UK promotional tour in April 2013.[1]

Music and background[edit]

"You're the One" has been compared to Siouxsie and the Banshees' song "Kiss Them for Me" and XCX agreed : "At the time, I was listening to a lot of dark pop, so I was inspired by a lot of the deep bass sounds. Sure, Siouxsie is there, too. We just kind of rolled with it."[2]

Charli XCX explained the meaning being the album's title: "Every corner of my own romantic history is explored on this record, so for me, it's very raw, it's very honest, and it's very true."[1] The majority of the album's tracks was previously released on the You're the One EP, and through the Heartbreaks and Earthquakes and Super Ultra mixtapes.> The album is named after the Quentin Tarantino-written 1993 film of the same name, which is sampled on "Velvet Dreaming" from the Super Ultra mixtape. Charli revealed on her official Twitter account that there would be a deluxe edition of the album.[3] On 9 April, the standard edition of album became available to stream on Pitchfork Media in full.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 76/100[5]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[6]
Fact 3.5/5 stars[7]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[8]
musicOMH 3/5 stars[9]
NME 6/10[10]
Pitchfork Media 8.3/10[11]
PopMatters 7/10[12]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[13]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[14]
Spin 7/10[15]

True Romance received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 76, based on 18 reviews, which indicates "generally favourable reviews".[5] Pitchfork Media's Marc Hogan wrote that Charli "pull[s] from moody 80s synth-pop, sassy turn-of-the-millennium girl groups, and state-of-the-art contemporary producers to create something distinctive and immediately memorable", concluding that she "stamps her personality across the entire project, and True Romance suggests she'll be worth following for a while."[11] Rebecca Nicholson of The Guardian found the album to be "surprisingly oddball and packed with production quirks that often resemble a smoothed-off Grimes", adding that "while there's still the odd remnant of Marina [and the Diamonds]-lite pop, this sounds like an imminent star steadily staking a claim to her own turf."[8]

Heather Phares of AllMusic noted that Charli "has a flair for combining a wide array of pop culture sources into something fresh and familiar, as well as a fondness for strong female characters." Phares continued, "Since quite a few of these songs were already road-tested, it's not surprising that this is a strong debut, but just how consistently catchy and personal True Romance is might raise a few eyebrows."[6] Spin '​s Puja Patel viewed True Romance as "a strident departure from those frivolities so far as solid, true-to-aim songwriting is concerned, but the divergence and a touch of the silliness remains: Goth, she is not. Dramatic? A bit. Complicated? Like every budding pop starlet. Defiant? Absolutely."[15] Despite stating that the album "is confusing at times and will most definitely require multiple listens", PopMatters' Enio Chiola opined that Charli is "the fun pop you don't have to be embarrassed about listening to, and she's definitely worth focusing your attention. True Romance is certainly the true beginning of an illustrious career."[12] Lauren Martin of Fact commented, "Love, lust and longing are chronicled and dissected in True Romance through online relationships being gradually given tangible, tactile form, setting Charli up as a young pop star to be reckoned with."[7] Rolling Stone critic Will Hermes described True Romance as "the pop-album equivalent of a wicked Tumblr".[13]

In a mixed review, Nick Levine of the NME felt that although the album "begins strongly" with "Nuclear Seasons" and "You (Ha Ha Ha)", the songs eventually "become samey and Charli [...] shoves some kind of speak-rap into almost every track", concluding, "At the moment, her music is best consumed in blog-sized chunks, not as a stodgy 48-minute album."[10] Similarly, John Murphy of musicOMH expressed that "[t]here's much to enjoy on True Romance, although it's probably best sampled in small doses as it doesn't hang together that successfully over the course of an album."[9] Paula Mejia of Consequence of Sound dismissed the album as "a valiant attempt that doesn't do much more than provide the soundtrack for 'getting ready to go out' songs on tinny laptop speakers."[16] Slant Magazine's Kevin Liedel criticised the album as "a little too slickly produced and self-aware to deliver the kind of spontaneous creativity or carefree chic that Charli XCX aims for", while dubbing its music "almost incidental, a postscript to the larger brand, confirming that whoever 'Charli XCX' actually is, she's more product than artist."[14]

Commercial performance[edit]

True Romance debuted at number eighty-five on the UK Albums Chart,[17] dropping out of the top 100 the following week. In the United States, it entered the Heatseekers Albums chart at number five,[18] and fell to number twenty-two the following week.[19] As of May 2014, the album had sold 12,000 copies in the US.[20] True Romance debuted and peaked at number eleven on the ARIA Hitseekers chart in Australia.[21]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Nuclear Seasons"   Rechtshaid 4:38
2. "You (Ha Ha Ha)"  
3. "Take My Hand"  
  • Aitchison
  • Raisen
  • Rechtshaid
Rechtshaid 4:26
4. "Stay Away"  
  • Aitchison
  • Raisen
  • Rechtshaid
Rechtshaid 3:48
5. "Set Me Free"  
  • Tikovoi
  • Rechtshaid
6. "Grins"  
  • Aitchison
  • Mike Tucker
Blood Diamonds 3:53
7. "So Far Away"  
  • Rundgren
  • White
8. "Cloud Aura" (featuring Brooke Candy)
  • Aitchison
  • Candy
9. "What I Like"   Aitchison J£ZUS MILLION 3:02
10. "Black Roses"  
  • Aitchison
  • Raisen
  • Rechtshaid
Rechtshaid 3:28
11. "You're the One"  
Berger 3:15
12. "How Can I"  
  • Aitchison
  • Raisen
  • Rechtshaid
Rechtshaid 3:55
13. "Lock You Up"  
  • Aitchison
  • Raisen
  • Rechtshaid
Rechtshaid 3:31
Total length:


  • "You (Ha Ha Ha)" samples "You" as composed by Gold Panda.
  • "Grins" samples "Grins" as composed by Blood Diamonds.
  • "So Far Away" samples "So Far Away" as composed by Paul White, which samples "A Dream Goes On Forever" as composed by Todd Rundgren.


Chart (2013) Peak
Australian Hitseekers Albums Chart[21] 11
UK Albums Chart[17] 85
US Heatseekers Albums[23] 5

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label
Netherlands[24] 12 April 2013 Warner
United Kingdom[1] 15 April 2013
United States[1] 16 April 2013 IAMSOUND
Canada[26] Warner
Australia[27] 19 April 2013
Germany[28] 31 May 2013


  1. ^ a b c d Snapes, Laura (26 February 2013). "Charli XCX Announces Debut Album, True Romance". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Joe Bosso (November 20, 2013). "Charli XCX talks songwriting, samples and her debut album, True Romance". Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Charli XCX (1 March 2013). "Yes, there's gonna be a deluxe ...". Twitter. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Charli XCX: True Romance | Advance". Pitchfork Media. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "True Romance – Charli XCX". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "True Romance – Charli XCX". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Martin, Lauren (16 April 2013). "Charli XCX True Romance". Fact. The Vinyl Factory. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Nicholson, Rebecca (11 April 2013). "Charli XCX: True Romance – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Murphy, John (11 April 2013). "Charli XCX – True Romance". musicOMH. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Levine, Nick (19 April 2013). "Charli XCX – 'True Romance'". NME. IPC Media. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Hogan, Marc (25 April 2013). "Charli XCX: True Romance". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Chiola, Enio (17 April 2013). "Charli XCX: True Romance". PopMatters. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Hermes, Will (16 April 2013). "True Romance". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Liedel, Kevin (12 April 2013). "Charli XCX: True Romance". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Patel, Puja (18 April 2013). "Charli XCX, 'True Romance,' (Asylum)". Spin. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  16. ^ Mejia, Paula (15 April 2013). "Album Review: Charli XCX – True Romance". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "Official UK Albums Top 100". Official Charts Company. 27 April 2013. Archived from the original on 27 April 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  18. ^ "Heatseekers Albums : May 04, 2013". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "Heatseekers Albums : May 11, 2013". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  20. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (5 May 2014). "Charli XCX On Riding Iggy Azalea's 'Fancy' Wave: 'I Feel Valued'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "ARIA Hitseekers – Week Commencing 29th March 2013". ARIA Charts. Pandora Archive. p. 21. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  22. ^ "True Romance (Deluxe) by Charli XCX". iTunes Store UK. Apple. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  23. ^ "Charli XCX – Chart history: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  24. ^ "True Romance | Charli XCX" (in Dutch). Free Record Shop. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  25. ^ "New Releases". Warner Music Ireland. Archived from the original on 27 April 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  26. ^ "True Romance by Charli XCX". HMV Canada. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  27. ^ "True Romance". JB Hi-Fi. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  28. ^ "True Romance" (in German). Retrieved 27 April 2013. 

External links[edit]