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Decoding Fandom is a weekly column that dives deep into the world of fan culture and runs on Wednesdays in the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox. 

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Pop musician Charli XCX understands the internet. Since the beginning of her career, the British singer has been extremely online, engaging with the memes and discourse about her and displaying a keen sense of how to capture fans’ attention. One of the most popular artists on so-called “gay Twitter,” Charli’s fans tend to be internet-savvy and on the lookout for the next viral moment.

At the beginning of June, Charli released her sixth studio album, Brat. In typical Charli XCX fashion, the record is filled with pulse-pounding club bangers alongside some intimate revelations about the artist’s anxiety and insecurities. 

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The tenth track on the album, “Girl, so confusing,” immediately sparked the interest of fans. The song describes Charli’s supposed beef with another artist whom the press often compared her to. Many hypothesized that the subject of the song was Lorde, while others suggested it could be Marina (formerly Marina and the Diamonds).

These suspicions were confirmed when Charli hinted at a potential collaboration with Lorde and later announced a remix of “Girl, so confusing” featuring the artist. The response to the collaboration was quite spirited, to say the least. “charli xcx and lorde finally doing a song together is like the second coming of christ for gay people,” wrote one fan.

When the song finally came out, fans could hardly contain themselves. As the story goes, Charli sent Lorde a voice note explaining how she’d been feeling and suggesting they “work it out on the remix.” Lorde’s response, which came in the form of the song’s second verse, described what she was going through at the time, which included a lot of insecurities and issues with body image. The verse ends with Lorde singing “I ride for you, Charli.”

Charli predicted the ‘internet will go crazy’ over the collaboration with Lorde

Charli predicted in the song that “the internet will go crazy” for the remix, and she was right. 

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After the initial wave of excitement that the collab was happening, the content of the song was what really blew fans away. Produced by A.G. Cook, the song’s beat is typically dance-worthy, yet the lyrics paint a picture of anxiety, insecurity, and reconciliation.

Many fans responded emotionally and found themselves surprised by their own reactions. “in fucking tears over new charli x lorde i needed this so bad,” wrote one fan on X. “I was dancing until I started uncontrollably sobbing at Lorde’s verse,” wrote a fan on Reddit. “went in ready to shake my ass and left emotionally devastated,” another Redditor chimed in.

Many noted how much they relate to Lorde’s lyrics and suggested the song is of history-making importance. The remix coming out during Drake and Kendrick Lamar’s never-ending beef was also a point of discussion, with one fan writing “Drake and Kendrick could never” and another proclaiming “this needs to win the nobel peace prize.”

The most unexpected result of the song was a third figure entering the chat. Marina—who was also under suspicion for being the subject of the song—wrote “POP IS HEALING ❤️” on X the day the song was released, and later wrote directly to Charli, saying “THIS IS BEAUTIFUL. Just cried listening to it.” Charli responded to the post, writing “aww marina!! tumblr girls rise!” in reference to their shared popularity on the platform. Later, fans noted that Marina is now following Charli on Instagram.

Ultimately, the song had a heartwarming effect on fans and the artists themselves. Though internet users— including fans—famously live for drama, the collaboration between Charli and Lorde proved more meaningful to listeners than any beef ever could. Charli and Lorde’s demonstrations of vulnerability in the song affected fans on a deep level. 

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In many cases, that’s precisely what fans want from their faves— something that feels real and intimately revealing. Though that might not be the first quality that comes to mind when you think of Charli XCX, it’s nonetheless become a significant part of her appeal. 

Why it matters


Many of the most successful musicians today are those who understand online culture and fandom, and Charli XCX is one such artist. With “Girl, so confusing,” she tapped into fans’ obsession with drama and “lore” while also displaying a remarkable amount of vulnerability, as she and Lorde offered up their internal struggles for fans’ consumption.

“well.. the internet went crazy !” Charli wrote on X, watching her prediction come true. There’s nothing like observing a master excel at her craft. 

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The internet is chaotic—but we’ll break it down for you in one daily email. Sign up for the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter here to get the best (and worst) of the internet straight into your inbox.

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*First Published: Jun 27, 2024, 6:00 am CDT

Kira Deshler

Kira Deshler is the assistant newsletter editor at the Daily Dot. Kira received a Master’s in Media Studies from UT Austin and has previously written for sites like Slash Film and Looper. She runs her own Substack newsletter, Paging Dr. Lesbian, and is a member of GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics.

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