Charlotte OC – Careless People
In Charlotte OC’s world, every line has a shadow; 'We keep on running like a river! Riveeeer.' The pop-minded theatricality of her debut album Careless People pays homage to the boldest voices in the business, but loses OC’s individuality in the mix.
The Lancashire-born musician’s been preparing for this moment for years. She grew up attending weekend classes at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, was signed (and dropped) by Columbia Records while she was still in her teens, and subsequently released three EPs between 2013-2016. Astute fans have already noticed that favourite songs from those records haven’t been re-recorded for Careless People: this debut is no retrospective, it’s a mission statement.
Glossy and calculating, Careless People rarely pulls back. OC has a formidable voice, and an obvious knack for understanding how to make a song sound stadium-sized – but she throws all her tools at every track, every time. Each of Careless People’s 11 radio-friendly numbers is scaffolded so securely by echoing, metallic hand-claps and perfectly timed backing vocals that OC’s songwriting starts to feel synthetic. The warm, earthy bass which grounded her earlier LPs has been replaced by a technically perfect chill.
The album’s few intimate moments offer welcome shelter, but songs like Running Back To You and Medicine Man aren’t inviting reflection. These are belters that are built for public spaces, and it’s easy to imagine how OC’s carefully structured singles will leak through the airwaves and embed themselves within your psyche. When you wake up humming Darkest Hour, blame it on the time you accidentally walked through TopShop.
Listen to: Shell, Running Back To You