"What I Like" by Charli XCX

British singer Charli XCX tends to have a dark view of relationships. On her debut studio album, “True Romance,” she compares being in love to being trapped in a prison cell, getting poisoned and surviving a nuclear winter.
 
“I don't think true romance is just brilliant and dreamy like you're walking on clouds all the time,” said Charli, born Charlotte Aitchison 20 years ago. “To have actual true romance you need those moments where you're tortured and depressed and crying all the time. Otherwise it's not real.”
 
Even at its heaviest, however, “True Romance” maintains its playfulness, and it's possible to picture the album's gothic dance tracks playing between cuts by the Cure and Echo & the Bunnymen during the weekly new wave night at local club Neo.
 
By phone, Charli opened up about her fascination with former Mouseketeers, her distaste for reality singing programs and the one time she was an unwitting accessory to a crime.
 
You’ve said in other interviews that you’ve never been on an actual date. So you never had that classic high school prom experience or anything?
 
No! I’ve never been on a “date” date, which is really sad because I love the idea of it. Maybe you could ask your readers to take me on a date [laughs]. I’m just kidding.
 
Is that a byproduct of starting your career so young?
 
I don’t think so. That’s just always the way I’ve been. I’ve either been deeply involved in a relationship or I’ve been completely the opposite.
 
You got your first record deal at 16. Starting out so young almost seems like a recipe for disaster these days, since every week another former teen star seems to have a public meltdown.
 
To be honest, when I was younger I’d have a lot of breakdowns where I’d cry all the time just because I couldn’t understand the whole process. I thought you signed a record deal and then a couple months later you put an album out and that was it. In hindsight, I’m really lucky I worked with good people who didn’t push me. I was given a lot of time to grow up as a person. I didn’t have that Disney-kid, child-star experience.