Charli XCX reigns as the queen of contemporary pop collaborations. Over the course of her career, she’s built a name off of not only her infectious club bangers, but the collaborative spirit imbued in her work. Aside from her quarantine album, how i’m feeling now, every other album/mixtape is filled to the brim with collaborations with other musicians, rappers, and producers. Here, we’ve ranked all of those team-ups: her best and worst tracks, and how well they blend her sensibilities with each collaborator’s distinct flair.
50. “Moonlight” by Lil Xan feat. Charli XCX
Level with us, Charli: How the hell did this feature end up happening? Was rent really that due? Charli’s stellar vocals on this track could not save it from mediocrity, as Lil Xan slurs his way through rapping about happiness, starshine… and whatever else.
49. “Drop That Kitty” by Ty Dolla $ign feat. Charli XCX and Tinashe
Ty Dolla $ign brought in the overqualified talents of Charli and Tinashe solely to use them for the chorus and add a tinge of femininity to a song that ultimately caters to the male gaze. The two are woefully underutilized with repetitive lyrics that don’t even allow them to really show off their vocal abilities. What a shame.
48. “XXXTC” by Brooke Candy feat. Charli XCX and Maliibu Mitch
While Brooke Candy appears multiple times on this list as a featured artist on several Charli XCX songs, “XXXTC” proves that when the roles are reversed, the results are much more uneven. Charli growls out her verse, a sound that feels very uncharacteristic of her—in addition to being out of place within the track. Place that between a chorus about riding “D” and wetting the bed, and “XXXTC” just does not sit right in the ears.
47. “love gang” by Whethan feat. Charli XCX
Now, Charli’s not known for her complex lyricism, but this song by Chicago DJ Whethan hits a new low. “love gang” is a lyrical hodgepodge of dated phrases and corny ramblings about love, treating it like a gang you can be a member of. “We all about that love,” says enough.
46. “Dirty Sexy Money” by David Guetta feat. Charli XCX and French Montana
This song’s not as appalling to the ears as some of the earlier entries; it’s just an uninspiring track that lacks creativity even for the oft-derivative EDM genre. It’s a song about spending some “dirty, sexy” cash in the club, and not much more. The blaring synths during the chorus nearly crowd out Charli’s vocals; really, any other artist could have been brought in for the same effect.
45. “OUT OUT” by Joel Corry & Jax Jones feat. Charli XCX and Saweetie
How two men named Joel Corry and Jax Jones managed to reel in the talents of Charli XCX and rapper Saweetie remains a mystery, but here they churned out a song not just about going out on the town, but going “OUT OUT,” which must be some heightened version of the former. The only redeeming quality of this song is the use of a sample from Stromae’s “Alors On Danse.”
44. “Spicy” by Herve Pagez feat. Diplo and Charli XCX
Funky with a little bit of Latin flair, Charli shows off a softer side to her vocals in this offering from Herve Pagez. But really, listening to Charli essentially cover “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls ultimately makes us just want to listen to the original. Also, if this were a ranking of music videos, “Spicy” would be dead last.
43. “Bricks” by Tommy Genesis feat. Charli XCX
42. “Girls” by Rita Ora feat. Cardi B, Bebe Rexha, and Charli XCX
After Charli XCX shared her affinity for daydreaming about pancake eating, puppy-loving, pillow-fighting “Boys,” Rita Ora came out of the stu’ with “Girls,” all about the tendency to get drunk and feel a desire to kiss women. With only a little bit of queerbaiting, Charli delivers a repetitive chorus and lets Bebe Rexha and Cardi B handle the rap verses.
41. “Playboy Style” by Clean Bandit feat. Charli XCX and Bhad Bhabie
2018 was a wild time for Charli and collabs, and it all culminates into this Clean Bandit song, featuring her and Dr. Phil darling Bhad Bhabie. This one gets props for giving a verse alongside the rapper and not limiting her to the chorus hook. Overall, Charli delivers with another catchy melody while Bhad Bhabie does her thing [shrug].
40. “911” (Remix) by Charli XCX and A.G. Cook
Typically seeing Charli XCX and A.G. Cook together makes for a 10/10 on the banger scale, but here they let their imaginations get away from them, and it ends up convoluting one of the best songs from Chromatica. The standout parts of the track end up downplayed, and Charli’s added verse is only so-so. It’d still hit in the club, but so does the original.
39. “bitches” by Tove Lo feat. Charli XCX, Icona Pop, Elliphant, and ALMA
In this much more explicit and hardcore version of “Girls,” Tove Lo gathers Charli, Icona Pop, Elliphant, and ALMA together to talk about some girl-on-girl action. Both the song and the music video (which features Paul Downs) are bawdy, very much in line with Tove Lo’s raunchy style of writing. While this writer normally objects to any derogatory use of the word “bitches,” the subversive effect works here.
38. “Dreamer” feat. Starrah and RAYE
37. “1 Night” by Mura Masa feat. Charli XCX
“1 Night” is one of those tunes that goes right in one ear and out the other. It’s a track tailor-made for an H&M store playlist. With layered vocals, Charli beckons the subject of the song to join her in turning back time to the one night they spent together; it could spur you to think about that one person from many moons ago. Still, it’s always nice to hear a more tender side of Charli’s voice, which this song brings out.
36. “3AM (Pull Up)” feat. MØ
One of the less memorable songs from Number 1 Angel, “3AM” relies on a boosted bass line for its funky energy, which ultimately gets depleted when MØ enters the song and stops it in its tracks. It manages to regain steam by the end, but this one would have been better served with a bridge from Charli herself, marking a time when her collaborative nature doesn’t pay off.
35. “Xcxoplex” by A.G. Cook feat. Charli XCX
34. “2099” feat. Troye Sivan
As we stray further from the bottom of the list, we find the Charli offering “2099.” This one primarily finds its place here for the groaner lyric, “Little dose of napalm, blow it up,” a line that makes the ears do a double-take. “2099” works well as the final track on Charli, with its swooning wall of synths, but as a standalone, it doesn’t really have legs, especially when compared to “1999.”
33. “Delicious” feat. Tommy Cash
“Delicious” goes on for about 90 seconds too long, with Tommy Cash well overstaying his welcome. What starts as a solid track about late night, high-induced phone sex goes off the rails right about the time Cash comes in with his verse. The lyric in this song that gets a big ol’ thumbs down? “No Beats by Dre, but beats by your father.”
32. “Drugs” feat. ABRA
Another unfortunately forgettable one from Number 1 Angel, “Drugs” stays one note throughout, to little effect. While ABRA’s verse adds a new texture with depth (and a slight hoarseness in her vocals), little about this track stays with you, as even the chorus fades into oblivion.
31. “Spinning” by No Rome feat. Charli XCX and The 1975
“Spinning” really sounds as if Charli and The 1975 joined together to make one supergroup—which actually sounds amusing, if not a little busy. Charli melds effortlessly into the sound for which The 1975 is known, taking up the voice modulation Matty Healy usually boasts. The only missing party here is Dirty Hit’s No Rome themselves, who remain in the background as Charli and The 1975 take control of the song.
30. “CHARGER” by ELIO feat. Charli XCX
Charli pops in for a quick verse on ELIO’s “CHARGER,” a bedroom pop song which examines the potential opportunity in leaving a phone charger at an ex’s house—a necessary excuse to go back later. It’s what could be called a “bop”: nonabrasive, easy to dance to, with an even easier chorus that anyone could nail. If this makes a bop sound basic, it’s because sometime they are.
29. “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
Adding another glimmer to Charli’s then-rising star, her feature on Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” had the singer blasting through the Top 40 radio airwaves (and leading to a debate at The A.V. Club over the idea of the “song of the summer”). It’s Charli’s killer hook that ultimately led to this song’s prominence, one of those earworms impossible to get out of your head once it burrows its way in. Charli was right when she said, “Remember my name, ’bout to blow.”
28. “Cloud Aura” feat. Brooke Candy
2012 Charli XCX and Brooke Candy were onto something with this one—if only Brooke could reel in her over-the-top delivery. “Cloud Aura” is undeniably cool and edgy, with its hypnotizing synth line and Charli’s stumbling chorus. The music video feels like a time capsule of 2012 Tumblr, featuring weed edits and an exuberant amount of crying gifs. Thanks to its strengths, it rises to the top of Charli’s early discography.
27. “After The Afterparty” feat. Lil Yachty
Another party song, from Charli’s raging party-girl days. Here, she teams up with Lil Yachty for “After The Afterparty,” a song about blazing through the weekend with non-stop partying. It’s catchy as hell: Charli really penned an earworm with this little ditty.
26. “Doing It” feat. Rita Ora
Early-era Charli was all about the party, and here she and Rita Ora link up to stay up all night and go hard. Ora’s vocals on “Doing It” are top notch, and the two execute the song to near perfection. That doesn’t prevent it from being a relatively simple song with little substance; what fits on a party playlist from 2014 doesn’t necessarily make it to the top of this list.
25. “Drama” by Bladee & Mechatok feat. Charli XCX
Shortly before declaring the death of hyperpop, Charli popped into the studio with bladee & Mechatok for “Drama,” cranking up the auto-tune to 10. Charli’s vocals and bladee’s raps intertwine well on this easy listen. It’s not particularly heinous or remarkable, which is why it falls in the middle of our list.
24. “Paradise” feat. Hannah Diamond
If the oddly high-pitched vocals from Hannah Diamond here do something for you, well, more power to you. However, at some point they just become noise amongst the heavy, industrial synths of “Paradise.” The beat drop here is audacious in a way that tips toward jarring, but the bridge on this one is pure bliss.
23. “Porsche” feat. MØ
22. “Dream Glow” by BTS feat. Charli XCX
It’s a little cookie-cutter and nowhere near the most boundary-pushing song on the list, but “Dream Glow” still makes for a compelling listen. BTS and Charli’s vocals sound wonderful together, and Charli brings a little bit of herself into the track with the background, “Hey!”
21. “Blame It On Your Love” feat. Lizzo
“Blame It On Your Love” has the bones to have been the super hit from Charli. It’s bright, upbeat, and featured Lizzo just as she was on her rise to superstardom. However, the track feels a little too refined, and Lizzo’s verse doesn’t sound like anything that wouldn’t be on one of her own solo tracks. Overall, it’s a perfectly manufactured hit, if it ever landed on the charts.
20. “Flash Pose” by Pabllo Vittar feat. Charli XCX
“I love Pabllo, Pabllo loves Charli.” That about sums up the infectious energy these two usually create when they hop on a track together, and “Flash Pose” is no different. It’s a song fits in perfectly on any photoshoot or pregaming playlist as Charli and Vittar shout “Get in my picture, pose!” Place this one right next to Leikeli47’s “Post That.”
19. “Warm” feat. HAIM
18. “New Shapes” feat. Christine And The Queens, Caroline Polachek
Both Caroline Polachek’s and Christine And The Queens’ solo collabs with Charli XCX rank higher on this list than “New Shapes,” as both of those offerings highlight the unique qualities of each artist—as opposed to this track, which washes them all down into a less interesting pop sound.
17. “Beg For You” feat. Rina Sawayama
Rina Sawayama is among the current vanguard of genre-melding pop, and linking up with Charli XCX should have been a knockout. However, as with “New Shapes”—another CRASH track—instead of leaning into what Sawayama brings to the table, the fellow Brit’s talents get flattened against Charli’s new mainstream pop sound. There are so many directions this song could have gone; it feels like it a great concept that never reaches its full potential. All that being said, they both sound fabulous.
16. “Shake It” feat. Big Freedia, CupcakKe, Brooke Candy, and Pabllo Vittar
“Shake It” certainly has its moments of ecstasy, such as when Big Freedia’s vocals come careening into the song, but it also has its lulls. It’s one of her best live cuts, but the tune takes a while to build up to its full power. And, in keeping with a trend of many of CupcakKe’s appearances on Charli songs, the rapper’s verse is the highlight of “Shake It.”
15. “Out Of My Head” feat. Tove Lo and ALMA
“Get outta outta outta my head,” is also what this writer says to the hook of this song, which is addictively sensational. This is one of those numbers where their voices are so similar, it truly could’ve been a solo Charli cut, as Tove Lo and ALMA don’t add any new textures to the track. Nonetheless, it’s a song that rewards repeat listens.
14. “Cross You Out” feat. Sky Ferreira
Leave it to Charli XCX to get Sky Ferreira to jump back into music, on what was then only the latter’s second track since 2013’s Ghost EP. Slower ballads are not Charli’s bread and butter, but she and Ferreira lay it bare and raw with “Cross You Out,” succeeding despite the song’s overuse of autotune.
13. “Click” feat. Kim Petras and Tommy Cash
Though from different albums, “Unlock It” and “Click” share similar traits in that they both have a solid verse from Kim Petras, followed by a less than satisfactory verse by a male artist. “Click” is creative in how many different ways it manages to use the word “click/clique,” and remains one of the more compelling tracks from Charli. But Tommy Cash’s verse takes it and bombards the music with an in-your-face verse that pulls the listener straight out of the song’s vibe.
12. “February 2017” feat. Clairo and Yaeji
Despite their vastly different vocal stylings (and approaches to songwriting), Clairo and Charli’s voices complement each other well in “February 2017,” capped off with Yaeji’s beautiful verse at the end. It does feel like the song could have been fleshed out more, but c’est la vie.
11. “Unlock It (Lock It)” feat. Kim Petras and Jay Park
Charli was on her way to mainstream pop stardom with “Unlock It (Lock It),” a glittery, joyful offering from Pop 2. This is a catchy number, tailor-made for girls to dance alone to in their room. Still, there are a few issues: Kim Petras’ verse is good, but isn’t distinct enough from Charli’s, and Jay Park’s teeters on cheesy, starting with “Unlock the swag.”
10. “Tears” feat. Caroline Polachek
Caroline Polachek and Charli XCX are two of the more daring voices in mainstream pop music at the moment, and they seized the opportunity to make this spiraling song, fitted with screeching synths during the chorus. Each maintain their own sound while weaving in and out of one another for a match made in heaven.
9. “ringtone” by 100 gecs feat. Charli XCX, Kero Kero Bonito, and Rico Nasty
It’s almost hard to believe there’s an un-remixed version of this song, because having Charli, Kero Kero Bonito, and Rico Nasty all together on a 100 gecs track somehow just makes sense. Auto-tuned up, Charli sings cheekily about her boy’s ringtone—or rather, the only one she knows. With three very different takes on the song’s premise, all of these artists meld together, united by Dylan Brady’s glitchy production.
8. “Femmebot” feat. Dorian Electra and Mykki Blanco
Charli let everyone know she was seeking the cutting edge of pop with “Femmebot,” a racy track about a sex-driven android who gets everything she wants. Dorian Electra and Mykki Blanco understand the assignment perfectly with futuristic verses that make references to Ghost In The Shell and Ex Machina. It truly sounds like a song from a future we’ve not yet seen.
7. “Babygirl” feat. Uffie
“Babygirl” is one of the more underrated songs on Number 1 Angel, with its R&B-inspired flow and luscious instrumentals. It’s flirty, glimmering, and dreamy, with just a glint of edge as Charli drops f-bombs and sings about being a pinup princess hanging on a wall. Uffie’s bodacious verse adds a burst of brightness before the track settles back into its infectious groove.
6. “Gone” feat. Christine And The Queens
With Christine And The Queens’ second song on the list, she brings forth a much more solid performance, this one all about feeling self-conscious at a party. Charli and Christine share the stage equally on the track, which keeps listeners hanging onto their every word, right down to Christine’s paranoid, “Wait?” It’s rare for an absolute banger to trash everyone in attendance at the party, but they manage to do it with excellence (and maximum drama) here.
5. “Backseat” feat. Carly Rae Jepsen
On “Backseat,” two of pop’s darlings link up for attempted world domination. With Carly Rae Jepsen bringing in her bubblegum-saccharine sensibilities tinged with yearning, she and Charli dive headlong into this one, about being “all alone, all alone, all alone” in a relationship. It also taps into a softer side of Charli while keeping the experimental elements foregrounded, making it perfectly complementary to both artists.
4. “I Love It” by Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX
Icona Pop’s “I Love It” made a star out of Charli XCX. And upon current listen, the hook-filled song feels still feels so distinctly 2012 (echoing the music video’s club scenes and hipster fashion). Short and sweet at just a little over two minutes and 30 seconds, it captures insatiable feelings of recklessness and feminine joy that made legions of listeners want to throw their hands up in the air in unison and shout, “I don’t care! I love it!” Although it’s an Icona Pop track, it still features some major tenants of Charli’s lyricism, all the way down to her voracious penchant for crashing motor vehicles.
3. “Lipgloss” feat. CupcakKe
CupcakKe is one of Charli’s more frequent collaborators, appearing in three of the tracks on this list. Although she gets down and dirty on “I Got It,” “Lipgloss” allows CupcakKe to take more control of the raunchy narrative. While Charli keeps it fun and flirty in the chorus, CupcakKe dives into rowdy lyrics all about capital-P “Pussy Power” and keeping it sticky like lipgloss. Here, CupcakKe doesn’t hold back her explicit nature, filling up two verses with one-liners about female pleasure.
2. “1999" feat. Troye Sivan
“1999" could not differ more than its subsequent counterpart “2099,” as the former throws us back to the eve of the millennium. Its verses are vivid with imagery of the tail end of the ’90s—a time where N’SYNC ruled MTV and Britney flooded the radio airwaves. Although Charli XCX and Troye Sivan were only 7 and 4 years old, respectively, in the title year, on this track they cultivate a nostalgia for this particular moment in pop culture history. It’s a song for driving with the windows down, singing about a bygone time with a car full of friends.
1. “I Got It” feat. Brooke Candy, CupcakKe, and Pabllo Vittar
From the moment Brooke Candy utters “Big tits, double D’s,” “I Got It” takes us in, washing the listener down in sleaze and pushing them onto a crowded dance floor. Each featured artist adds a new layer, with the song peaking at Pabllo Vittar’s belting vocals. And while Charli sticks to the delirious chorus, the song still contains all of the boundary pushing and hot-girl energy for which she’s known. It’s a perfect balance of the infectious attributes Brooke Candy, CupcakKe, and Pabllo Vittar can bring to a track—led by Charli’s songwriting know-how.