Home » Watch A Barbie Pink C5 Absolutely Murder Its Tires For Our Driving Queen Charli XCX

Watch A Barbie Pink C5 Absolutely Murder Its Tires For Our Driving Queen Charli XCX

Charlie Xcx C5 Ts5
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There is no other musician alive who sings about driving or cars more than British indie/hyper-pop star Charli XCX. Seriously. The Cars, an entire (and wonderful) band named after cars, didn’t even sing about cars as much as Charli XCX. So when the video came out for her single “Speed Drive” and it featured my favorite Corvette burning it down I knew I had to share it, and Charli XCX, with all of you.

One of my favorite internet neologisms is ELI5 (Explain It Like I’m 5), and around here our version of that is ELIDT (Explain It Like I’m David Tracy). This is a man who, for all his knowledge of Jeep transmissions, has the pop culture awareness of a potted ficus. A man who refuses to listen to music on cross-country road trips because it “distracts his brain.” [Ed Note: I have no idea who this XCX person is, so maybe we should change that headline to “my driving queen” and not “ours.” Speak for yourself! -DT]. 

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Charli XCX rules, though, so this will be enjoyable to explain and all of you who don’t know what any of this means, like David, will be richer for reading it. I promise.

Pink C5
Photo: YouTube

Charli XCX, born Charlotte Emma Aitchison, is a British singer/writer/producer. Much like we’ve become pluralistic about car culture, kids are definitely more latitudinarian about their music. To crib an argument from Rob Harvilla, when you don’t have to pay $20 at a Blockbuster Music for a CD you can afford to be broader and more experimental in your tastes. Still, to be reductive for just a minute, Charli XCX always struck me as an indie artist who happens to make perfect pop music. She’s the inverse of Robyn, a performer who came out of the Swedish pop star machine and somehow creates–if not indie music–earnest and fun dance songs that indie music fans love and even try to dance to (I’ve seen Robyn twice and awkwardly and proudly danced my heart out both times). I bring Robyn up for a reason, just wait.

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Photo: YouTube

You may not know who Charli XCX is, but if you’ve been to a wedding/rave/bar mitzvah/mall you’ve heard her roughly a million times because she’s the ultimate collaborator. She’s the best part of Iggy Azalea’s breakout single “Fancy” and the driving voice behind Icona Pop’s “I love it.” If you enjoy the super weird avantgarde 100 gecs, that’s her on “ringtone.” And yet, her first album, the darkly beautiful “True Romance” wasn’t pop-y or dance-y at all. It was an introspective dark-wave joint celebrating the point where the enthusiastic consent of early adulthood collides with the enthusiastic discontent of late teenagedom.

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Photo: YouTube

Since then, Charli XCX has trended more dance/hyper-pop. She’s also talked about what the British call motoring. A lot. So much. I refer you to “A Definitive Guide to Charli XCX’s Career-Long Love Of Cars” from Cool Accidents and Vice’sWhy Is Charli XCX So Obsessed With Cars?” She does love cars, certainly, and driving as well.

I found this great interview from NPR where the artist acknowledges how central a theme driving is:

I’ve had so much constant narrative around cars in my lyrics and videos. I think, without sounding too much like a narcissist, I was touching on a lot of my own reference points for this album and playing into the idea of what a stereotypical pop star is often deemed to be, and looking at the boxes women are often put in — the virgin, the whore or the vixen — and kind of exploring what those themes are within pop music, and the way that the music industry can sometimes perceive women and characterize them.

Here’s “Vroom-Vroom” for example:

There’s a lot going on here and this is going to be 9,000 words if I have to explain who the late and wonderful hyperpop producer SOPHIE is to David, but the harsh electronic hook cooked up by SOPHIE is clearly meant to evoke an exotic V12 revving to the moon.

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As an artist, Charli XCX is somewhat brand agnostic, though Mercedes-Benz comes up often, as in her song “White Mercedes,” with a video featuring a bro-dozer 2nd gen Ram and, curiously, no white Mercedes:

Central to her music is the concept of speed drive. In any other artist’s body of work, you’d assume this was merely a misnomer since cars do not have, so far as I can tell, a specific drive mode called “speed drive.” Rather, in her universe, speed drive is the heart-pounding disassociation with the world and near loss of control that comes when you’re piloting a car at full tilt. To put it more bluntly: it’s when you’re fucking on it.

Here’s a good description in the eponymous single for her album “Crash:”

I don’t know if I’ll be coming back to life again (uh)All or nothing, burn in Hell or go up Heaven sent, yeah (uh)Wheels up on the curb side, put it in speed driveI’m about to crash, I’m about to crashI’m about to crash, I’m about to crashI’m about to crash

So it wasn’t a big shock when I was watching the Greta Gerwig-directed “Barbie” film this summer that the main chase scene was underscored by a Charli XCX song called “Speed Drive.” I was a little surprised, however, when I saw the video:

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Is that a pink C5 Corvette? I freakin’ love C5 Corvettes. Probably because of nostalgia, a C5 Z06 is my absolute favorite Corvette (this is not a Z06, but it has a bedazzled manual!). So watching Charli XCX dance in front of a C5 ‘Vette that’s laying down 11s and doing righteous donuts is combining many things I enjoy.

Charlixcxspeeddrive
Photo: YouTube

I love the simplicity of the video and of the song, which is basically the plinky backbone of Robyn’s “Cobrastyle” (I told you it would come back) with the chorus from Toni Basil’s “Mickey.”

Also, the burning C5 wheel is also fine because, frankly, the chrome five-spokes are the least good C5 wheels. So, yeah, there you go. A bunch of words about a video and a song so you can enjoy it while knowing that the artist behind it is, in fact, authentically our queen of driving music.

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TOSSABL
TOSSABL
7 months ago

Well, I was not aware of Charli, but I’m glad I am now. She’s going to be a great addition to top-down backroads leaf-viewing.

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
7 months ago

Ok fine, I’ll fucking subscribe. Just keep repping XCX. And fuck you David, Charli baby is OUR QUEEN.

Also, Matt, I really hate to break it to you, but Charli’s first album was “14”. And could we not get some love for TAXI?! Or literally any of Crash– THE sexiest album of all time? Seems you really don’t want to see the hot, evil girls thrive.

Much love for SOPHIE. fucking legend.

anywho

and I can race you there in my Bentley truck (vroom vroom).

Jeff Gorvette
Jeff Gorvette
7 months ago

I’m not into hyper pop at all, but Charli XCX definitely has some of the most fun driving music. If Vroom Vroom is playing I’m 10x more likely to do something irresponsible while driving. The new Need for Speed game also has a Charli XCX song on the soundtrack, further proof of the headline.

DT driving in total silence is actually the most concerning thing I’ve read about him on this website.

Chronometric
Chronometric
7 months ago

Thanks Matt, this was interesting and mind expanding. But, after some long sampling, I think I’ll get my music and vehicle recommendations from Gossin, with a side of Adrian.

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
7 months ago

I have hard time relating to people that don’t crank music in the car. I’m an 80s kid, grew up with mix tapes, even got a mixer from Radio Shack so I could better fade between songs, just for tapes to play in the car. Still to this day I’ve got my usb drives and bluetooth playlists when Pandora or SXM don’t cut it.

To sit there listening to nothing, or worse talk radio, I just don’t get it.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
7 months ago
Reply to  Fuzzyweis

My husband’s family would never listen to music in the car or really even talk. Back in the day when there were commercials on TV, they would mute the commercials and sit in silence for 4 minutes. It was awful.

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
7 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

This is my family. We never listened to music on road trips. Chit-chat her and there but mostly just silence. Grandma and grandpa would read the paper and nap; mom would work on a cross-stitch project, dad would drive and I either read the car’s owners manual or pretended to drive using the umbrella as some sort of futuristic driving stick.

It sounds boring but I look back on it fondly.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
7 months ago

Honey?

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
7 months ago
Reply to  Fuzzyweis

Yup, I’ll basically never ever understand that…cruising to great tunes is so enjoyable…used to have a decent system I installed and would sometimes blast the music (don’t have it anymore) Also, loved Radio Shack!

Marteau
Marteau
7 months ago

I so much want to see a video of Tracy blasting vroom vroom in his YJ during his morning commute

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
7 months ago

I love me some XCX, and hot take How I’m Feeling Now is probably the best Covid special album. But if anyone should get credit for endlessly referencing automobiles it’s Action Bronson. Literally almost every song references some auto brand. Plus the Saab Stories and “Strictly 4 my Jeeps”.

A. Barth
A. Barth
7 months ago

A man who refuses to listen to music on cross-country road trips because it “distracts his brain.”

But… Does no one else do this?

If I’m in the car by myself, I’m driving in silence nearly 100% of the time. It gives me [more] time to ponder things like design problems and product ideas, happy to be alone with my thoughts.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
7 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

I do this sometimes, for the exact reason you said above (product role). But weirdly I like to listen to stuff with no vocals when I just need to drive in hectic traffic and my mind happens to be a cave full of bats. I’m not a fan or aficionado of jazz, but Spotify’s Jazz in the Background playlist is a great all-rounder when you want music instead of silence but you don’t want it to annoy you in these situations.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
7 months ago

For a change of pace, try some synthwave music. Then you’ll feel like you’re playing an 80’s arcade game rather than driving.

https://nightride.fm/

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
7 months ago

I do love synthwave too! Thanks for the rec

Mike B
Mike B
7 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

Most of my time spent in my vehicle is alone, I commute 45 min each way to work, and often go solo to offroad or mtb events on the weekends. Doing that driving in silence would be absolute torture.

Phuzz
Phuzz
7 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

I find that the part of my brain that listens to music is almost entirely separate from the part that drives, so I can do both of those things at once. As another upside, neither side of my brain distracts the other, so I can devote my full attention to driving and listening to the music.
I find podcasts/audio book to be slightly too involved, so I tend to miss bits of them when I have to read road signs etc.

06dak
06dak
7 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

My wife does this. Drives me nuts!

I listen to the radio really low and often times on repeat (if I’m listening to an album or similar), which bothers my kids, but I need that noise in the background to keep me going.

Tim R
Tim R
7 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

I assume anyone doing this is plotting to kill us all.

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
7 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

I either listen to podcasts, or have silence. Especially on cross-country trips. If I’m driving for 12 or 14 hours, I’ll just go into this weird zen state of mind where I process things and then suddenly realize several hours have gone by.

Cerberus
Cerberus
7 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

I’m the opposite. I get too focused on the drivers of road rage if I don’t listen to music and I can both focus better while driving or the story scenes and design ideas come to when listening to it. Even if I drove an old Lamborghini, I imagine I would tire of listening to the engine if I were driving it for a few hours or more. I have often wondered if it’s related to PTSD and silence (or droning noises that fade into the background) put me in an agitated state of higher alert, something like how the forest will get quiet of animal noise when a predator is about to strike.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
7 months ago

Like 10 or so years ago, my wife and I were at a dive bar in Austin during SXSW and there was a gal doing a DJ set that no one was paying attention to, and the bar wasn’t very full. My wife actually knew who it was and started talking to her, and the DJ gal was an absolute delight and was just super. Turns out it was Charlie XCX.

I like her music, but I’ll always appreciate how genuine, approachable, and just nice she was compared to other insufferable musicians that we met while living there. The worst offenders were often the ones that (seemed) to have the least talent.

But, given that I have zero talents (musical or otherwise) I guess I shouldn’t judge.

Alexk98
Alexk98
7 months ago

I’m convinced the only DT editor note is at the beginning because he had a stroke trying to comprehend the rest of the article (which was excellent by the way)

Outofstep
Outofstep
7 months ago

I did not expect to see a post about Charli XCX this morning but I’m not mad at it. Here’s some more Charli XCX/car content.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chSZCtLrgz8

But now since I’m thinking of Christine and the Queens I have to share this song he had Booba guest on that also involves a car

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpMqpqUhmtg

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
7 months ago
Reply to  Outofstep

Saw Christine and the Queens at a (non-festival) show several years ago, what I thought was going to be a typical concert was much more of an artist exhibition, in all the best ways possible. It was like watching a play, truly amazing performance.

Outofstep
Outofstep
7 months ago

I’ve never see a live performance (not yet anyways) but the talk show and video performances are great.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
7 months ago
Reply to  Outofstep

I would highly recommend that if you do see a live performance, that it’s not part of a festival. Christine really shined in a standalone performance, ours was at the Fox Theater in Oakland…

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
7 months ago

I am oddly here for this. It’s fun and she doesn’t overly take her self seriously. I approve.

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter
7 months ago

I guess it’s not just David…I don’t know who Charli XCX is either. I like that Corvette, though!

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
7 months ago

She’s one of those artists that people might not know her name, but you’ve definitely heard her music or music from others that she’s been featured on, without knowing it.

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
7 months ago

I have never been disappointed in you. Until today.

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter
7 months ago

Oh no! I guess a lot of it has to do with the fact that I let my playlist get stagnant. I used to be big into finding new music, now I only occasionally add songs to my collection.

Speed Drive is the newest song on my Spotify list. 🙂

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
7 months ago

Everyone finds god, I mean Charli, when they need her most. 🙂

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
7 months ago

You and I are definitely from very different generations. When I think of car/driving songs my mind goes to The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Ronny and the Daytonas, Chuck Berry, Commander Cody, The Eagles, Golden Earring, The Raspberries, Springsteen, The Cars, Prince, maybe Queen, Sheryl Crow, etc. There are others, but you get the point.

Today, thanks to your article, I discovered some new talent. Appreciate the steer and, as always, your entertaining and informative presentation. Rock on.

Last edited 7 months ago by Canopysaurus
David Escargot
David Escargot
7 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Music from the Golden era is the best kind of music… I’ll add Dire Straits if I may… its funny how the longer songs seem to make the clock go faster

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
7 months ago

As a local pedant, that’s not a brodozer Ram. That’s just a properly done big lift conversion. Wheels and tires are appropriate, stance is proper, etc. From the visual data available, that truck can cash all the checks it writes, unlike a brodozer that’s for looks only.

The music was a good reminder that the British tried to steal every culture they could find, but weren’t always successful. Her hooks are pleasant. She should leave the rapping to those with the skill.

Carson Giardini
Carson Giardini
7 months ago

I don’t know what the issue is but for like the past 2 months embedded videos do not work on mobile. The thumbnail instantly disappears once I scroll to it and then if I press play nothing happens.

Andy Carlson
Andy Carlson
7 months ago

Also me.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
7 months ago

I wouldn’t say Charli is the “best” part of Fancy, I’d say she’s the only redeeming part of it. Without her chorus that song is downright bad. It’s not a coincidence that Iggy Azalea hasn’t been relevant in years and Charli has more or less blossomed into a full on pop icon.

Do I personally care for her music? Eh. I like some of her early, more dark wave-ey stuff for sure, particularly Stay Away. That song rules. I’ve also always liked her collaboration with Carly Rae Jepson. However Hyper Pop becoming popular is essentially the exact moment in music and pop culture when I became an old man.

It doesn’t jive with me at all. It’s too frenetic and hyperactive. I find 100 Gecs to be unlistenable and Charli’s newer stuff ain’t my thing either. I enjoy abrasive music and listen to a fair amount of metal/noise rock/math core type stuff but for some reason abrasive and frenetic pop music isn’t my thing and I don’t plan on pulling a Randy Marsh and forcing myself to listen to it while pretending to enjoy it.

That being said Charli is ridiculously talented and I respect the hell out of her art. It may not be for me, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting, creative, and made with love. It’s all of those things, and her car enthusiast credentials definitely check out.

Last edited 7 months ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
7 months ago

The best thing about “Fancy” is that it led to “Handy” by Weird Al. So for that I am grateful.

I’m so handy
Everyone says so
I’ll fix your plumbing
When your toilet overflows

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
7 months ago

It’s funny you mention Iggy Azalea because she basically ignored Australia’s own cool car culture and just sat there while the Australian car industry collapsed.

No hooning or burnouts in a ute. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, she was too busy trying to be Da Brat and even drove a *gasp* LHD Bimmer!

I’m surprised Charli XCX didn’t get a ute burnout in that Fancy video 😛

Someone should tell Charli about the Autopian 😉

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
7 months ago

Huh… not typically my kind of music, but the intersection between music and cars is pretty much my brain’s default location, so I might have to check out some more of her stuff.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
7 months ago

Do these people have tire manufacturer sponsorships?

Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
7 months ago

Of all the Autopian crew to describe an album as “darkwave,” or even know what darkwave is, I wasn’t expecting Matt. Buuut, Charli XCX first came onto my radar via the exquisite taste of Nick Rhodes, so it kinda tracks.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
7 months ago

I liked the her first album, but haven’t heard anything of her more recent stuff.

Last edited 7 months ago by Adrian Clarke
Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
7 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

I’m in the same boat. True Romance was good for modern stuff pre-current goth renaissance, but haven’t looked any further into her due to being spoiled for choice these days.

DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
7 months ago

Queen of driving music….that would be Freddie and his gang, not this bozo.

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
7 months ago

In the book Good Omens, every cassette (Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi…) that the demon Crowley puts in his 1933 Bentley turns into Best of Queen within a fortnight. The Amazon show bought the rights and plays Queen songs whenever he is driving!

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
7 months ago
Reply to  MAX FRESH OFF

Aziraphale driving the Bentley to Edinburgh was the best part of season 2. He apparently is not a fan of Queen.

Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
7 months ago

This came out of nowhere haha

V10omous
V10omous
7 months ago

Meh, change your name to Charlie XC90 and we’ll know how much you really love cars.

V10omous
V10omous
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

It’s definitely better than Charlie X CX-30, which was my other idea.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
7 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Folks claim that the turbo one is a real treat

Alexk98
Alexk98
7 months ago

I have a CX-30 turbo and can confirm, for what it is its a great little car. Not as agile as a 3 Turbo Hatch, but with crap roads near me, extra ground clearance and power is a fun little combo, and a great interior for the money!

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
7 months ago
Reply to  Alexk98

I daily a Kona N so you’re preaching to the choir

Alexk98
Alexk98
7 months ago

I had very much considered the whole suite of current N cars when shopping mid last year, but the local Mazda deal is stand-up and never over sticker, the local Hyundai/Kia is slimy plus 10% markups, so easy call on my part, but I 100% can’t fault you

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
7 months ago
Reply to  Alexk98

That’s fair! I managed to get mine at under MSRP, but it did take some work. I initially tried to buy an Elantra N a few weeks before I got my Kona and the dealership snuck a 10% markup on it that wasn’t advertised. I said I was game at MSRP, the sales manager literally insulted me until I walked out.

The combination of that and the wife preferring I have something that fits her definition of practical is more or less what led me to my car, and I had to drive a full hour to it. That dealership was excellent, but in my experience the negative reputation Hyundai/Kia dealerships have is well deserved.

Alexk98
Alexk98
7 months ago

That makes a ton of sense, I’m also extremely particular about color/trim combos when it comes to cars, and Mazda allowing a pseudo custom order meant I got exactly what I was looking for. Still very glad I went crossover instead of something more directly enthusiast focused for my daily, that way I won’t be tempted to modify my practical car and will keep myself focused on the revolving door of projects instead.

Definitely can’t blame you for walking on a shady markup and d-bag sales guy, its never worth the hassle for a car that you can find at a different dealer. I wish more of my friends were that patient when car shopping rather than walking into carmax and getting hosed on the first thing they see since “I’m already here so I should just close now”

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
7 months ago
Reply to  Alexk98

I had a GTI before my Kona N and the form factor of a small crossover has been a huge upgrade to be honest. I was a certified Crossover Hater for years but I now understand why people like them so damn much. The extra ground clearance is handy, the higher load floor makes loading it up easier, and the extra visibility that the higher ride height gives you is really helpful.

I always tell people I drive a hot hatch, and I stand by it…but even enthusiasts can have little a crossover, as a treat.

Alexk98
Alexk98
7 months ago

Thats funny since I had an ’18 Golf Wagon 4mo 6spd before I got my CX-30. Then I bought an NA miata, which ruined my perception of the golf enough that I said well I’m either selling both and hoping for a GR Corolla/CTR, or keeping the NA and getting a crossover with a touch more power and adaptive cruise, which due to markups was the route I went. Golf was a great car, but the CX-30 fits my needs/wants so much better and I haven’t looked back.

Also my golf threw a low coolant warning less than 24h before my pickup/trade-in appointment for my CX-30 so that made it an easy goodbye

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
7 months ago
Reply to  Alexk98

My MK7.5 GTI was littered with problems despite being a brand new car. It’s one of the reasons why I got out of it after only 2 years. Funnily enough I made a serious attempt at getting a GRC (was on some waitlists) but I wound up checking out the Ns to see the competition and was smitten. That combined with the fact that I realized what a nightmare getting a GRC was going to be was it for my GR dreams…for now at least.

I’d also just rather have an automatic in my daily. I live in DC and sit in horrible traffic constantly and my wife can’t drive stick, so the DCTs in the Ns were a real selling point too. I actually drive my aunt’s NA pretty frequently and she’s hinted that she’s going to pass it along to me eventually, so maybe I’ll be joining you on that front soon 🙂

Drew
Drew
7 months ago

The C5 feels like the perfect Corvette to be this shade of pink.

I should listen to more of her stuff. “I Love It” put her on my radar for awhile, but I didn’t listen to her for long. I hadn’t even realized how much she sings about cars.

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