Charli xcx recruits Lorde for the remix of her song about Lorde

On "Girl, so confusing," Charli xcx and Lorde reconcile their differences and open up about industry pressures

Charli xcx recruits Lorde for the remix of her song about Lorde
Lorde and Charli XCX in 2014 Photo: Kevin Mazur/MTV1415/WireImage

Charli xcx has proved many times over that she has impeccable instincts for her pop niche. She did it again on her buzzy new track “Girl, so confusing”: “One day we might make some music/The Internet would go crazy,” Charli predicted. Of course, she was right. The Internet is going crazy for the new version of “Girl, so confusing” with Lorde, the pop girl frenemy with the “same hair” who the song was about in the first place. New Zealand’s own elusive chanteuse has pretty good instincts too—when it comes to their differences, “Let’s work it out on the remix,” Lorde advises. And so pop history was made.

Like many songs on her critically acclaimed new album brat, “Girl, so confusing” in its original form is about Charli’s insecurity within the music industry as a female pop star. Yeah, she knows everyone’s obsessed with her, and that she’s “your favorite reference, baby,” but that doesn’t mean she isn’t affected by the industry’s age-old tactic of pitting women against each other. In this case, it’s more about putting women into the same category even when, as Charli observes, they don’t have a ton in common. It’s become a meme how Charli’s been mistaken for Lorde because of their physical resemblance in the past, but their other similarity is being ever-so-slightly more alternative than their shiny commercial-pop peers. There’s tension there, and Charli feels it. “I think we live in the world of pop music right now where women are like, ‘I support other women! I love women! I’m a feminist,’” Charli explained about the song on Las Culturistas. “And that’s great. Love that. I don’t think you become a bad feminist if you maybe don’t see eye to eye with every single woman. That’s not the nature of human beings. There’s a competitiveness between us. There’s envy. There’s camaraderie. There’s all of these different dynamics.”

Charli xcx – The girl, so confusing version with lorde (official audio)

The lyrics to “Girl, so confusing” are so straightforward as to be a blunt instrument (“You’re all about writing poems/But I’m about throwing parties/Think you should come to my party/And put your hands up”). For Charli, “It’s so confusing sometimes to be a girl,” and she wants to know of her unnamed rival, “how do you feel being a girl?” On the remix, Lorde steps up to the mic to say: Not great! As it turns out, she, too, is plagued by the pressures of the industry and the general fuckery that comes with growing up a girl in a misogynist society (“‘Girl, you walk like a bitch’/When I was ten someone said that”). Lorde the poet was struggling with her body image and scared to be in pictures with party girl Charli, whose “life seemed so awesome.” In a classic case of miscommunication, both got caught up in the pop star image the other was projecting, and it made both of them insecure. “Forgot that inside that icon/There’s still a young girl from Essex,” Lorde sings about Charli.

Lorde has been in relative seclusion since finishing her Solar Power tour. Besides a track on the recent Talking Heads tribute album, “Girl, so confusing” is her first song since 2021. She’s teased some of her own new music recently, but this remix marks a rare collaboration in her discography—her only other collaborative tracks are 2015’s “Magnets” with Disclosure and 2017’s “Homemade Dynamite” remix with SZA, Khalid, and Post Malone. Clearly, despite the differences between them, Lorde really does “ride for you, Charli.” While fans were still speculating as to who “Girl, so confusing” was about, the Grammy winner had nothing but praise for the record, posting on Instagram (via Rolling Stone), “The only album I’ve ever presaved is out today… Charli just cooked this one different… So much grit, grace and skin in the game. I speak for all of us when I say it’s an honour to be moved, changed and gagged by her work. There is NO ONE like this bitch.”

No one except Lorde—at least, that’s what people say. “They say we’ve got the same hair/It’s you and me on the coin/The industry loves to spend,” the two intone on the remix, “And when we put this to bed/The internet will go crazy.” Right again!

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