Thursday, March 13, 2008


Song: Girlfriend
Artist: Annie
Album: 2008 Title TBD

Over the past couple years I’ve gotten more in tuned to Scandinavian pop. From Royksopp to The Ark, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark have given us pop acts that have taken the catchy hook and done interesting things with it. ABBA really started things off for pop from that region, and bands like The Cardigans, Whale, and Gus Gus have continued the tradition of pop friendly tunes, mixed with a push-things-forward sensibility. I recently wrote about Swedish dance-pop singer September late last month, a record that I have been really enjoying for the past few weeks.

One of my favorite electro-pop records of the past few years would have to be 2005’s “Anniemal” by Norwegian songstress Annie. A mix of dance-pop, clever samples, and electronica flourishes, I found it absolutely irresistible. First single “Chewing Gum” was pure pop, the Madonna-sampling “Greatest Hit” was steeped in future-disco, and the highlight (for me) was the glorious “Heartbeat,” a slow-building effervescent club track that showed Annie was more than just another Scandinavian pop-tart, but an artist that was pushing dance music into new areas. When she came on the scene she was often referred to as “ABBA meets Daft Punk.” Hot!

It’s been a long three years since “Anniemal.” She released a DJ Kicks compilation later in 2005, which included two unimpressive new tracks. And then did a few singles including a new track “Crush” and a cover of the Teddybears (from Sweden!) “Yours to Keep.” Also, in a move that probably gained her a few fans in the geek world, she recorded “Simlish” versions of her singles “Chewing Gum” and “Heartbeat.” (The nonsense language used in the popular videogame The Sims.)

2008 will see the return of Annie as she releases her follow up next month. She has been said to be working with producer Brian Higgins (Sugarbabes, Girls Aloud, Saint Etienne, Franz Ferdinand, & Kylie) as well as former “Anniemal” collaborator Richard X. X is responsible for the first single “Girlfriend,” (initially thought to be titles “I Know Your Girlfriend Hates Me.”) It’s a fun song… and while it’s not as great as “Heartbeat,” it succeeds as sort of a counterpart to “Chewing Gum,” which it resembles a bit. I like it though… and makes me very excited to hear what else the new record holds.

Rumored collaborators for the new record include Franz Ferdinand, Datarock, and Girls Aloud. On the “possible bad idea” front, X has said to have produced a cover of Stacey Q’s impossibly bouncy 1986 hit “Two of Hearts.” I will hold judgment until I hear it though…



Chewing Gum

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