Released 12 April 2013
Recorded 2010-2013
Genre Synthpop, dark wave, new wave, indietronica
Length 47:02
Label IAMSOUND, Asylum, Atlantic
Producer Ariel Rechtshaid,

J£ZUS MILLION, Blood Diamonds, Dimitri Tikovoi, Gold Panda, Joakim Åhlund, Patrik Berger, Paul White, Todd Rundgren

 True Romance is the major-label debut studio album by English recording artist Charli XCX, released on 12 April 2013 by Asylum Records and Atlantic Records. 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]


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 Quentin Tarantino's1993 film of the same name, which is sampled on "Velvet Dreaming" from the Super Ultra mixtape. Charli revealed on her officialTwitter account that there would be a deluxe edition of the album.[2] On 9 April, the standard edition of album became available to stream on Pitchfork Media in full.[3]

Critical receptionEdit

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

True Romance has received mostly positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a 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".[4] 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."[10] 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."[7] MuuMuse hailed the album and wrote that "Charli’s sound and style is a vibrant, eclectic collage of cultural commodification—a product of growing up in This Digital Age: The Spice GirlsBritney Spears,Gwen StefaniSiouxsie SiouxCocteau Twins [and] Marilyn Manson".[15]

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."[5] 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."[14] 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."[11]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."[6] Rolling Stonecritic Will Hermes described True Romance as "the pop-album equivalent of a wicked Tumblr".[12]

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."[9] Similarly, John Murphy ofmusicOMH 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."[8] 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."[13]

Commercial responseEdit

In Charli's native UK, True Romance debuted at #85, her first appearance on the charts. It dropped out of the Top 100 the next week.[17] In the US, the album failed to appear on the Billboard Top 200, debuting at #5 on the Top Heatseekers.[18] It fell to #22 the following week. The album debuted at #11 on the ARIA "Hitseekers" chart in Australia.[19]

Track listingEdit

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Nuclear Seasons"   *Charlotte Aitchison*Justin Raisen Rechtshaid 4:38
2. "You (Ha Ha Ha)"   *Aitchison


3. "Take My Hand"   *Aitchison

  • Raisen
  • Rechtshaid
Rechtshaid 4:26
4. "Stay Away"   *Aitchison

  • Raisen
  • Rechtshaid
Rechtshaid 3:48
5. "Set Me Free (Feel My Pain)"   *Aitchison


  • Rechtshaid
6. "Grins"   *Aitchison

  • Mike Tucker
Blood Diamonds 3:53
7. "So Far Away"   *Aitchison


  • White
8. "Cloud Aura" (featuring Brooke Candy) *Aitchison

9. "What I Like"   Aitchison J£ZUS MILLION 3:02
10. "Black Roses"   *Aitchison

  • Raisen
  • Rechtshaid
Rechtshaid 3:28
11. "You're the One"   *Aitchison

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: 47:02


  • "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.


Chart (2013) Peak


UK Albums Chart 85
Australian Hitseekers Albums Chart 11
US Billboard Top Heatseekers 5

Release historyEdit

Region Date Label
Netherlands 12 April 2013 Warner Music
Ireland Asylum RecordsAtlantic Records
United Kingdom 15 April 2013
United States 16 April 2013 IAMSOUND Records
Canada Warner Music
Australia 19 April 2013
Germany 31 May 2013
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