True Romance (Charli XCX album)

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

True Romance is the debut[3] studio album by English singer Charli XCX, released on 12 April 2013 by Asylum and Atlantic Records. Originally scheduled for release in April 2012, the album's release was delayed for a full year and had been in the making since early 2010 when Charli met with producer Ariel Rechtshaid in Los Angeles. To promote the album's release, Charli embarked on a three-date UK promotional tour in April 2013.[3]

Background and release[edit]

"You're the One" has been compared to Siouxsie and the Banshees' 1991 song "Kiss Them for Me" and Charli 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."[4]

Charli 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."[3] The majority of the album's tracks were 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. On 9 April 2013, the standard edition of album became available to stream on Pitchfork in full.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 76/100[6]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[7]
Fact 3.5/5 stars[8]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[9]
musicOMH 3/5 stars[10]
NME 6/10[11]
Pitchfork 8.3/10[12]
PopMatters 7/10[13]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[14]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[15]
Spin 7/10[16]

True Romance received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 76, based on 18 reviews.[6] Pitchfork'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."[12] 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."[9]

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."[7] 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."[16] Despite stating that the album "is confusing at times and will most definitely require multiple listens", Enio Chiola of PopMatters 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."[13] 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."[8] Rolling Stone critic Will Hermes described True Romance as "the pop-album equivalent of a wicked Tumblr".[14]

In a mixed review, Nick Levine of 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."[11] 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."[10] 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."[17] 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."[15]

Commercial performance[edit]

True Romance debuted at number 85 on the UK Albums Chart, selling 1,241 copies in its first week. By February 2015, the album had sold 6,302 copies in the United Kingdom.[18] In the United States, it entered the Heatseekers Albums chart at number five,[19] and fell to number 22 the following week.[20] The album had sold 12,000 copies in the US as of May 2014.[21] True Romance debuted and peaked at number 11 on the ARIA Hitseekers chart in Australia.[22]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Nuclear Seasons" Rechtshaid 4:38
2. "You (Ha Ha Ha)" 3:08
3. "Take My Hand"
  • Aitchison
  • Rechtshaid
  • Raisen
Rechtshaid 4:26
4. "Stay Away"
  • Aitchison
  • Rechtshaid
Rechtshaid 3:48
5. "Set Me Free[c]"
  • Tikovoi
  • Rechtshaid
6. "Grins"
  • Aitchison
  • Michael Tucker
7. "So Far Away"
  • White
  • Aslet[a]
8. "Cloud Aura" (featuring Brooke Candy)
  • Aitchison
  • Joseph Zucco
  • Candy
  • J£zus Million
  • Aslet[a]
9. "What I Like"
  • Aitchison
  • Zucco
  • J£zus Million
  • Aslet[a]
10. "Black Roses"
  • Aitchison
  • Rechtshaid
  • Raisen
Rechtshaid 3:28
11. "You're the One"
  • Berger
  • Rechtshaid[b]
12. "How Can I"
  • Aitchison
  • Rechtshaid
  • Raisen
Rechtshaid 3:55
13. "Lock You Up"
  • Aitchison
  • Rechtshaid
Rechtshaid 3:31
Total length: 47:02


  • ^a signifies a vocal producer.
  • ^b signifies an additional producer.
  • ^c On the digital edition of the album, "Set Me Free" is titled "Set Me Free (Feel My Pain)".[24][25]

Sample credits


Credits adapted from the liner notes of True Romance.[26]


Chart (2013) Peak
Australian Hitseekers Albums (ARIA)[22] 11
UK Albums (OCC)[27] 85
US Top Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[28] 5

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Ireland 12 April 2013 [29][30]
Netherlands Warner [31][32]
United Kingdom 15 April 2013
  • Asylum
  • Atlantic
Canada 16 April 2013 Warner [34][35]
United States Iamsound [36][37]
Australia 19 April 2013 Warner [38][39]
Germany 31 May 2013 [40][41]
Canada 13 August 2013 LP [42]
United States Iamsound [43]
Brazil 14 October 2016 CD Warner [44]


  1. ^ Cragg, Michael (27 December 2014). "The playlist: the best pop of 2014, with Charli XCX and Taylor Swift". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Ugwu, Reggie (28 August 2013). "Independent Study: IAMSOUND Records". Billboard. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Snapes, Laura (26 February 2013). "Charli XCX Announces Debut Album, True Romance". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Bosso, Joe (20 November 2013). "Charli XCX talks songwriting, samples and her debut album, True Romance". MusicRadar. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  5. ^ "Charli XCX: True Romance | Advance". Pitchfork. 9 April 2013. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Reviews for True Romance by Charli XCX". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "True Romance – Charli XCX". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Martin, Lauren (16 April 2013). "Charli XCX True Romance". Fact. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Nicholson, Rebecca (11 April 2013). "Charli XCX: True Romance – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Murphy, John (11 April 2013). "Charli XCX – True Romance". musicOMH. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Levine, Nick (19 April 2013). "Charli XCX – 'True Romance'". NME. Archived from the original on 27 April 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Hogan, Marc (25 April 2013). "Charli XCX: True Romance". Pitchfork. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Chiola, Enio (17 April 2013). "Charli XCX: True Romance". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 16 November 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Hermes, Will (16 April 2013). "Charli XCX: True Romance". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Liedel, Kevin (12 April 2013). "Charli XCX: True Romance". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Patel, Puja (18 April 2013). "Charli XCX, 'True Romance,' (Asylum)". Spin. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  17. ^ Mejia, Paula (15 April 2013). "Album Review: Charli XCX – True Romance". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  18. ^ Jones, Alan (23 February 2015). "Official Charts Analysis: Imagine Dragon's Smoke & Mirrors LP reaches No.1 with sales of 25,675". Music Week. Archived from the original on 25 February 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "Heatseekers Albums: The Week of May 4, 2013". Billboard. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "Heatseekers Albums: Week May 11, 2013". Billboard. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  21. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (5 May 2014). "Charli XCX On Riding Iggy Azalea's 'Fancy' Wave: 'I Feel Valued'". Billboard. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "ARIA Hitseekers – Week Commencing 29th March 2013" (PDF). ARIA Charts (1209): 21. 29 March 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  23. ^ "True Romance (Deluxe) by Charli XCX". iTunes Store (GB). Archived from the original on 6 December 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  24. ^ "True Romance by Charli XCX". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  25. ^ "True Romance [Explicit]: Charli XCX: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 27 June 2016. 
  26. ^ True Romance (CD liner notes). Charli XCX. Atlantic Records. 2013. 825646462049. 
  27. ^ "Charli XCX | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  28. ^ "Charli XCX – Chart history" Billboard Top Heatseekers Albums for Charli XCX. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  29. ^ "New Releases". Warner Music Ireland. Archived from the original on 27 April 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  30. ^ "True Romance (Explicit) (2013) | Charli XCX". 7digital (IE). Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  31. ^ "True Romance, Charli Xcx" (in Dutch). Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  32. ^ "True Romance (Explicit) (2013) | Charli XCX" (in Dutch). 7digital (NL). Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  33. ^ "True Romance [Explicit]: Charli XCX: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  34. ^ "True Romance by Charli XCX (CD)". HMV Canada. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  35. ^ "True Romance (Explicit) (2013) | Charli XCX". 7digital (CA). Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  36. ^ "Charli XCX: True Romance". Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  37. ^ "True Romance [Explicit]: Charli XCX: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  38. ^ "True Romance". JB Hi-Fi. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  39. ^ "True Romance (Explicit) (2013) | Charli XCX". zdigital (AU). Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  40. ^ "True Romance" (in German). Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  41. ^ "True Romance [Explicit]: Charli XCX: MP3-Downloads" (in German). Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  42. ^ "True Romance by Charli XCX (Vinyl)". HMV Canada. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  43. ^ "Charli XcX: True Romance (LP+MP3): Music". Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  44. ^ "True Romance". Livraria Cultura. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 

External links[edit]