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Rockin' Our Turntable: Annie

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 17, 2009 4:20PM

2009_11_Annie.jpg While we're sure there will plenty of eyes directed at another female singer's long-delayed album dropping today, we feel that it'd be a pity if that caused Annie's excellent sophomore effort to get overlooked. Anne Strand, better known as simply Annie, was all set to release Don't Stop a year ago before abruptly cutting ties from her record label and pulling the album from the release schedule. Word filtered through that she was reworking tracks and recording new material. We'd heard the unreleased version of Don't Stop and while it wasn't perfect we weren't sure if this album revamp was really necessary.

It turns out it was, and the version of Don't Stop hitting wide release today is a punchier collection of songs that replaces a few of the lighter a fluffier of Annie's inclinations with songs that are both catchier and slightly weirder and more catchy.

The martial sing-song of "Hey Annie" serves as an excellent intro, kind of an electronic answer to the sound of Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk"that perfectly tees up what's to follow. "My Love Is Better" amps up the energy and one imagines a mini-army of Annies advancing on her romantic competition with unwavering self-confidence and intoxicating confidence. "I Don't Like Your Band" is a love song to a partner couched in a musical diss, and the dichotomy serves up one of the most alluring things about Annie. She's fearless and frank, unafraid to make a stance that might prove unpopular, but determined to do so in the belief that such actions benefit all involved.

Take this individual strength and lay it over beds of propulsive disco, electro, and dance-pop and the recipe for success isn't difficult to appreciate. The production is sleek but there's also a DIY quality to the work that implies the tracks were built with great care, and were intended to bounce under the words and melodies they carry, rather than hewing to some preconceived notion of what they should sound like. This fearlessness is not always completely thought out, and while her risk taking usual yields excellent results, sometimes her experimentation does lead Annie astray, as on the repetitive "The Breakfast Song."

Outside of that single weak point we found ourselves thoroughly enjoying Don't Stop, delighting in the differences between this version and her unreleased prototype since they illustrated Annie's smart instincts, and newly appreciative that she took the time to polish her latest offering to perfection. Hey Annie, yes we want more, yes we want more.