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How Charli XCX Turned Her Sound Around On The Vroom Vroom EP

The first release from the singer's new label lets her get a little weird.

On Tuesday (February 23), Charli XCX announced that she had started up her very own label and had a new EP on the way. Vroom Vroom is now here, and it points to an exciting change of pace for the UK singer.

In collaboration with producer Sophie, who worked alongside Diplo on last year’s Madonna single “Bitch I’m Madonna,” Charli XCX has revamped her sound from stadium pop to something a little weirder. Vroom Vroom is still unmistakably Charli — her voice, her accent, and her attitude are all intact here — but the songwriting and production on the EP make room for some of her more adventurous tendencies.

Charli has made big waves on hip-hop productions before, most notably by helping Iggy Azalea turn “Fancy” into a global smash hit, but she’s never really introduced hip-hop into her own music until now. On Vroom Vroom, she raps as readily as she sings. “Bitches know they can’t catch me,” she brags on the EP’s title track between Sophie’s synthetic engine revs, and then quickly snaps back to singing the hook’s delicate melody: “All my life, I’ve been looking for a good time."

More than any of the songs on her first two albums, the four Vroom Vroom tracks leave negative space for Charli to get weird. “Paradise” starts with a chipmunk voice echoing off into the darkness, while “Trophy” breaks its build-up with a flat repetition of a Pulp Fiction sample instead of a predicatble dubstep drop. This is pop music that's meant to be a little confusing, to acknowledge your expectations and then cheekily deny them so it can do what it wants to do.

It’s a promising start to Charli’s new label, which also releases two new singles from CuckooLander and RIVRS today.