Should Have Been Bigger: Charli XCX’s “Break The Rules” Deserved More

Mike Nied | August 2, 2019 12:39 pm

Charli XCX hit all the right notes in 2014. After lending her voice to Iggy Azalea’s chart-topping “Fancy,” the pop-saving angel continued asserting her dominance of international airwaves with “Boom Clap.” The romantic anthem (originally intended for Hilary Duff) landed on the soundtrack for The Fault In Our Stars and rocketed into the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. She rode that wave of success into the release of Sucker. Her punk-pop sophomore LP made a strong showing on the charts. It peaked at number 28 on the Billboard 200 and went Top 20 in the UK in early 2015.

The Brit was poised to extend her hot streak with a couple more bops off the very solid tracklist. However, she hit a roadblock with follow-up single “Break The Rules.” Produced by Cashmere Cat, StarGate and Steve Mac, it perfectly highlighted the pop star’s tendency toward rebellion. “I don’t want to go to school. I just wanna break the rules,” Charli chants on the anthemic chorus. “Boys and girls across the world putting on our dancing shoes. Going to the discotheque, getting high and getting wrecked.” The rule breaking carried over to the music video.

Directed by Marc Klasfeld, it brought the lyrics to life as Charli and a group of friends take over a school bus and later crash prom. High school has never seemed cooler. All things considered, the track should have been her third consecutive Top 10. However, it only made a brief appearance on the bottom rungs of the Hot 100. It peaked at the lowly and undeserved number 91, becoming her last song to enter the chart. That’s an unforgivable offense, especially because follow-up single “Doing It” never had a chance. After “Break The Rules” failed to take off, Charli turned her attention to the UK.

And that turned out to be a solid choice. A remix of “Doing It” featuring Rita Ora rocketed up the chart and hit number 8 there. However, the sugary opus never saw an official release in the US. Perhaps American airwaves would have been graced with the remix as well had our tastes been more evolved. Revisit the underrated “Break The Rules” below and let us know if you agree that it deserved more.

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