Charli XCX and Lorde's "Girl, so confusing" Remix Finds Healing in Confrontation

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BY Kaelen BellPublished Jun 21, 2024

"Girl, so confusing" is already one of BRAT's most vulnerable songs. On an album shaped by its unfiltered, plainly spoken psychic baggage, "Girl" sees Charli XCX attempt to unpack her competitive, admiring and uncomfortable relationship with a fellow pop star. It's a bit petty, a bit sweet, bravely embarrassing and combative.

For those in the know, the song's unnamed subject was obvious; now, we get to hear her rebuttal. In a move that's both so obvious as to be inevitable and still totally surreal, Charli has brought Lorde in for the "Girl, so confusing" remix (titled "The girl, so confusing version with lorde"), turning Charli's nervy monologue into a healing and surprisingly affecting dialogue between two left-field pop stars who've been pitted against one another (in ways both material and imagined) since teenhood.

"Well, honestly I was speechless / When I woke up to your voice note / You told me how you'd been feeling / Let's work it out on the remix," Lorde sings at the outset of her verse, adapting her sideways poetics to meet BRAT's text-to-a-friend word vomit. But in a refreshingly honest move, Lorde doesn't use her mic time to spew her own version of Charli's obsessive spiral ("Sometimes I think I might hate you / Maybe you just wanna be me"), instead explaining her surprise at Charli's hangups and accepting some responsibility for the barrier between the two. 

Lorde's verse, which grapples with her disordered eating, self-hatred and the ways that her insecurities come off as coldness — "'Girl, you walk like a bitch' / When I was 10, someone said that / And it's just self-defence / Until you're building a weapon," she sings, her voice awash in warbling Auto-Tune — elevates "Girl, so confusing" to a new plane of vulnerability and mutual understanding. It's a beautiful, sometimes clumsy dispatch from deep within the battleground of perception and female relationships, and it feels like a watershed moment in the face of the anodyne therapy speak and straining empowerment that's clogged up the last decade of pop music.

And when the pair's voices come together for the finale, it paints a hopeful patina on a song that once felt rusted with uncertainty. "I'm glad I know how you feel," Lorde sings on the final pre-chorus, Charli's voice dropping away momentarily. "'Cause I ride for you, Charli." 

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