In September 2019, Charli XCX released her third studio album Charli that was released to critical acclaim. Another version of the album was originally slated for a May 2017 release, although Charli later on decided to scrap that project following an accident that later resulted on most of its demo tracks getting leaked on the Internet. In an interview with the music magazine Fader. “I’m not supposed to say this, I’m supposed to be like, in it, ‘this album (Charli), stream it, buy it’, but I’m like, already thinking about the next one, it’s done, I’m onto the next level”, Charli explained. She stated on 14 October of the same year that she was already working on it. On 25 November 2019, she stated that her current plans for the future year included the creation of two new albums (the second being the sixth, which, if not released in 2020, would have been released in 2021).
On 6 April 2020, Charli XCX announced through a public Zoom call with fans that she would be working on a new album in self-isolation, with the tentative title How I’m Feeling Now. Charli first mentioned the “Janet album” theme on the same day, when she posted a screenshot of a conversation with A. G. Cook. “And I wanted to do Janet album in September into quicker album in December”, she said, implying that she originally planned to release the “Janet album” in September and a “quicker”, more impromptu album in December of the same year. Charli hinted on 12 June that she was back at work on the “Janet album” now that How I’m Feeling Now was out.
On 1 November 2021, she tweeted that she would be disclosing mysteries about the album that week, and five hours later, she revealed the collaborators she would be working with on the album: Lotus IV, Christine and the Queens, Caroline Polachek, Oscar Holter, Digital Farm Animals, Rina Sawayama, Ian Kirkpatrick, Jason Evigan, Justin Raisen, SadPony, Ariel Rechtshaid, Ilya, Oneohtrix Point Never, Mike Wise, and Jon Shave. Oscar Holter had already been confirmed as a producer for the album with the single “Good Ones”, and a collaboration with Rina Sawayama had been teased since 2019, though according to both artists, there were different attempts at a collaboration; the song that ended up being released was titled “Beg for You”, and was produced by Digital Farm Animals. A collaboration with Caroline and Christine, with production from Deaton Chris Anthony, was also teased a few days before the announcement, which turned out to be the track “New Shapes”, which acts as the album’s second single and was released on 4 November 2021.