The Interns' 2017 Artist Of The Year Is Charli XCX

Illustrations by Bianca Bosso.

Charli final

At the beginning of 2017 we could've mapped out Charli XCX's year. At least we thought. She'd released After The Afterparty as the first taste of her third album and was surely looking to release it within the year. We'd get a couple of a singles and a couple of great videos and we'd sign off on the year saying that Charli had a great 2017.

Well, it's now December and we don't have that long-awaited third album nor do we have any indication that it's coming soon. And that's what made Charli's year so phenomenal. She turned frustration into opportunity and instead of throwing singles at the wall, waiting for something to stick, she threw out the rule book and rewrote pop's business book as well as its aesthetic.

Earlier in the year, she gave a triumphant performance on Mura Masa's 1 Night, ushering in a year that would see Charli collaborate relentlessly. She lifted up those around her in the pop community and was also lifted up herself, creating a close-knit community of pop innovators formed around her PC Music base. She wrote with Camila Cabello, directed for Alma, supported Halsey and Sia and partied with everyone from Tove Lo to Flume. Hip-hop and electronic music has always thrived on collaboration but pop is so often a one-man race. Charli refused that and became a curator as much as an artist.

Her Number 1 Angel mixtape that dropped quickly is perhaps the best example of that. She pulled together an all-female lineup including Uffie, MØ, Starrah, RAYE, CupcakKe and Abra for a mind-bending pop record that took PC Music's hyperactive soundscapes and renovated them with emotional yet club-ready melodies. Suddenly the conversation around the delayed album hushed as fans began to figure out that it was no longer the end game. Charli was releasing music in real time with an aesthetic that was simultaneously nostalgic and futuristic. There's still nothing like Number 1 Angel in the pop world and yet last week she played two songs from the tape to adoring stadium crowds in Australia.

After the mixtape, we suddenly darted back towards with Boys. For her best single to date Charli put herself behind the camera and the boys in front of it with a cast that included Flume, Joe Jonas, Diplo, Khalid and Joey Bada$$. The video was easily one of the best of the year but the song existed beyond that which often doesn't happen when the video is so iconic in itself. With its glossy, sparkling production, Boys was a sugary daydream. It won over Pitchfork, took over the airwaves of triple j and also grabbed her commercial radio play.

She now finds herself in a position where she has a genuine Hottest 100 contender in Boys and a commercial radio hit on David Guetta and Afrojack's Dirty Sexy Money which is almost unprecedented, in Australia at least. That's what she did this year. She turned herself into an all-rounder who embraced the fast blurring lines of pop music. With Taylor Swift refusing to stream her album for the first couple of weeks and Katy Perry suffering while trying to make a traditional album rollout interesting, it's refreshing to see a popstar embracing the future.

Next week she'll release her second mixtape of the year Pop2 once again gathering together a stellar cast including Tove Lo, Carly Rae Jepsen, Alma, Brooke Candy, Jay Park and heaps more. It's about her pop community as much as it is about her and, once again, it sounds like nothing you've heard this year. Not even Number 1 Angel. The album is supposedly still coming but at this stage does it really matter. This was the artist she was always meant to be - hyperactive, self-driven, unpredictable and forward-thinking. It's only a matter of time until other popstars catch on to what Charli is doing and throw out the rule book in favour of her no doubt holographic rule book. It's the sequel to pop and it's called Pop2.

Charli XCX's 'Pop2' will be released next Friday, 15th December.