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Gwen Stefani Subtly Disses Charli XCX While Talking About Scrapped 2014 Album

Instagram @charli_xcx
Instagram @charli_xcx

After waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting—you get the picture—Gwen Stefani‘s third solo album, something we were never firmly certain would tangibly manifest, is here. This Is What The Truth Feels Like dropped today, March 18, marking roughly twelve years since the release of the iconic pop artist’s defining debut, the fizzy, ahead-of-its-time electro-pop opus Love.Angel.Music.Baby.

Twelve years later, we still can’t get B-A-N-A-N-A-S out of our heads. Spawning several well-deserved radio hits, Love.Angel.Music.Baby. arguably helped to direct a generation of up-and-coming pop girls who would, years later, dabble in edgy, wacky, colorful bubblegum dance-pop a la Gwen’s ’04 album.

It made sense, then, when one such edgy, colorful dance-pop princess, Charli XCX, professed her love for the “What You Waiting For” singer in late 2014.

Gushing to MTV about getting to write for Gwen’s forthcoming, then-untitled third album, Charli shared, “We actually never worked in the room together, which was not so weird for me, but I think for her because of the way she song writes… It was incredible to work with her. When we finally met—we had been emailing—she’s just like so badass. I really admire someone who really is at the top of their game and has never made a bad decision, I don’t think, and has constantly kept cool and is so nice, and I think that’s cool. I don’t have time for people that are a-holes. I have a lot of time for Gwen.”

so excited to have co written with @gwenstefani on her new record. LEGEND.

A photo posted by CHARLI XCX (@charli_xcx) on

That same year, Gwen would tell SPIN that she enjoyed working with Charli, revealing, “I think out of all the writers out there, male and female, I really like her style the most. I think that she comes up with really good melodies. I feel really lucky to work with her in the weird way that we did. It’d be interesting to actually be in the studio with her.”

A fairly glowing endorsement, no? That’s why an offhand comment that Gwen made about Charli XCX during an interview with Entertainment Weekly on March 17 comes across as—how do we put this… Unusual? Unexpected? Shady?

While discussing her new album with the entertainment site, the conversation turned towards an album that the pop star had been working on in 2014 that she ultimately scrapped. As Gwen explains, “I had just had Apollo, and they had just called me to do The Voice. It was like, ‘How am I going to nurse a baby, be a mom to two other kids, be on a new show, and write songs?’ So I decided to curate a record. Everyone does that! Almost nobody writes their whole records! But it didn’t feel right.”

Then, when asked what felt off about the now-scrapped album, Gwen suddenly brings up Charli: “Every time people would write things, I was like, ‘That’s what I sounded like 12 years ago—maybe you should call Charli XCX or somebody else.’ It felt weird and fake.”

Whether or not the comment was meant to come off as negative towards the “Break The Rules” pop princess, it certainly feels like it. On one hand, Gwen seems to be calling the British singer-songwriter derivative of her early work; on the other, it sounds like she felt the “weird and fake” music people (including Charli, apparently) were writing for her was not worth her artistic prowess and would be better suited to an artist less discerning. Either way, it’s not good.

Was Gwen’s backhanded comment a subtle dig towards the Sucker singer, or just a slip of poor phrasing? Sound off in the comments.

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Next: Gwen Stefani Talks to PopCrush Nights About Her Album + 'Nightmare' Year

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