Charli XCX Seemingly Responds to Taylor Swift’s UK Chart-Blocking

Charli XCX has seemingly responded to Taylor Swift‘s “chart-blocking” tactic that kept Brat out of the number-one spot in the UK. Swift’s album The Tortured Poets Department has held its place at the top since its release in April, but when Charli XCX’s sixth studio album (released June 7) threatened that reign, some fans accused Swift of using a “greedy” tactic to maintain number one.

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A little context first. A limited edition of TTPD, which included new bonus tracks, was released only available in the United Kingdom and it means Swift has now secured six weeks at the top of the charts. The timing, fans say, is curious.

“Taylor was going for her longest-ever streak at number one on the UK album charts. And just after the news broke that Charli was in number one, [Swift] pulled this move and dropped more special editions of The Tortured Poets Department,” podcaster Sam Murphy on TikTok. “Now, I understand that some of these things are planned, but this was not a global release. This was specifically targeted to UK customers, which surely means it’s about the charts.”

The reaction from Brat fans has been, ahem, swift. “A stolen win isn’t a real win, charli xcx is the winner SAY WHAT YOU WANT IDC, [sic]” tweeted one fan. “Taylor swift is greedy and the farthest thing from a feminist, at least Charli has talent, [sic]” said another.

During her Los Angeles show on June 15, 2024, Charli XCX gave a subtle response to the controversy. She asked the crowd, “What’s the next song?” and looked at the setlist before realizing it was “Sympathy With a Knife.” The audience cheered in response. “That’s interesting,” Charli XCX said, adding, “I just feel like artistry shines through.”

“Sympathy With a Knife” is speculated to be about Swift, who had a wild two-month-long fling with The 1975 frontman Matty Healy. Charli, meanwhile, is engaged to the band’s drummer George Daniel. “Don’t wanna see her backstage at my boyfriend’s show / Fingers crossed behind my back, I hope they break up quick,” Charli sings. (Charli and Daniel didn’t become engaged until November, months after Swift and Healy split, so her calling him her “boyfriend” makes sense.)

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