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Charlotte Sands' Debut LP Reignites the Flame of Female-Powered Pop-Rock

Abby AndersonMar 4, 2024

Charlotte Sands' rise to popularity has been burning slow since her first release in 2018, followed by bedroom-written releases in 2020. But with her debut LP Can We Start Over?, Charlotte Sands emerges as a fully aflame force to be reckoned with.

For female-rockstar fans who like vocal powerhouses like Kelly Clarkson, and pop-punk-rock divas like Avril Lavigne (who might also be a little too mature for artists like Olivia Rodrigo); enter Charlotte Sands. She spent last year opening for both pop-rock band PVRIS, and Australian pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer. She's now set to embark on a headlining tour in March; and with an album as rock-solid as Can We Start Over? as her debut, it's clear Charlotte Sands is just getting started.

Stand-out tracks: "Pity" and "Spite"

My favorites: "Blindspot" and "Can We Start Over?"

We all learned in school that when you write, you need an attention-grabber of an opening sentence to draw your audience in. Charlotte Sands makes it clear she's one to ace every test by opening Can We Start Over? with soaring rocker "Use Me." Drums pound your ears and Sands's voice ascends beyond expectations, crying out with resentment,"I think I'm losing it/Is that what you want?/You keep talking shit/Is that all you got?"

The perfect juxtaposition of self-deprecating confidence is accentuated in "Pity," with Sands lamenting that her perfect woman is with someone else. This girl is too good for a good-for-nothing, "She looks photoshopped/But she's standing right there/I talked to god/Said she's his favorite I swear". With screaming guitars, head-banging drums, and a get-stuck-in-your-head chorus, "Pity" is an instant hit. "Get Over It" was one of the first tracks released from Can We Start Over?, and if you wanted to get a taste of the album without hearing the full project, this track is deceptively tame compared to the rest of the album. "Get Over It" leans more into pop than the other tracks, with clever word-play lyricism and instrumentation that leans towards 2000s pop-rock.

Aptly named "Spite" is an undeniable stand-out. While we've heard the "Never gonna let you forget/I'ma be your biggest regret" lyricism from other artists before, Charlotte Sands takes the route of rubbing it in her ex-lover's face a little further by putting the "Fuck it I'll get famous out of spite/I'll make it overnight/Be starring in the movies/Just to make you cry" spin on things. The trio of electronic drums, a growling guitar riff, and ostentatious lyrical punches sung by Sands powerhouse voice make "Spite" the track on Can We Start Over? that would take radio waves by storm.

While the A-side of Can We Start Over? is filled with high-powered, audacious pop-rock hits, the B-side leans more soft-spoken and emotionally charged while carrying through sonically-cohesive instrumentation. "Blindspot" is one of my personal favorites on the album, with Sands pouring out her heart over the back-and-forth pull of wanting someone who doesn't see you the same way:"Where you come running back cause you got hurt/I'm in your blind spot/Waiting in the dark, is it my turn?" While the preceding track leaned towards heartbroken romanticism, "Dead Body" is the polar opposite; this is tumultuous, toxic love. The parallels of "Did I make you feel bad/promise I'll say sorry/Over my dead body" and "Take you back over my dead body/Call me a bitch as long as you don't call me" are seamless, effortlessly illustrating the ease of the back-and-forth in a passionate, destructive relationship.

The conclusive title track "Can We Start Over?" opens hauntingly. Vocally, Charlotte Sands never shines brighter, injecting a yearning and gut-wrenching emotionality into each stratospheric note. Instrumentally, "Can We Start Over?" is extraordinarily unpredictable, leaning into muted synth piano and cinematic percussion. Lyrically, the track stunningly encompasses each rise and fall of the preceding nine tracks, referring to another life in which the love she's lost wouldn't be painful, but rather full of hope. Sands concludes the track, and the album, by leaving the ever-important question on the table: "Can we start over?"

Can We Start Over? is relentless, empowering, passionate pop-rock from its unassuming opening notes to its illustrious conclusion. Carried by unparalleled vocals, a fresh sound, and scorchingly introspective writing, with a debut this ambitious, Charlotte Sands has solidified herself as a fast-rising rockstar.

Am I Obsessed? RATING: FULLY OBSESSED

Stream Can We Start Over here, and keep up with Charlotte Sands here.