I am on only the third listen of Annie’s sophomore effort, however it is growing on me very quickly.
After really enjoying her self titled debut, the first listen was almost a little disappointing, or weird anyway, as I was expecting it to sound similar.
For starters, I am happy it has been released, and especially on a non major label (Smalltown Supersound). She was on Island (owned by Universal), however she “never felt they were that positive” to her ideas (from her Myspace blog).
In an interview with Elle, she said “I’m happier with the melodies and lyrics on this one.” I may not have thought of it so much in that light, but I do agree with what Erin Clements wrote to introduce the interview, “Don’t Stop, a more polished effort that’s just as much fun as the first, doesn’t disappoint.”
I recall when her debut came out she was pretty big in the underground. I think it is safe to say this could be her breakout album, all while staying popular to the underground. Of course this is a little harder to judge over here in Canada/North America, as she does not receive much rotation, at least not in the same way top 40 receives.
I like how “Hey Annie” starts the album, possibly a reference to her debut where she dropped the lyric “Hey Annie” a fair amount in the catchy “Chewing Gum”.
“I Don’t Like Your Band” feels like it would have fit well onto her debut.
“Songs Remind Me of You” has a distinct synth background, giving it a throwback feel, and has a great melody. It was produced by Richard X, who has produced his fair share of Brit Pop (Sugababes, Rachel Stevens, Alesha Dixon, Róisín Murphy), including Annie’s “Chewing Gum”! Also some sweet M.I.A tracks, “Amazon”, “Hombre”, and “10 Dollar” from Arular. Don’t Stop leaked in 2008, and although I did not realise it did, “Songs Remind Me of You” seems to have been well reviewed, as that was one of the first tracks revealed from the new album in 2008.
Upon reading the BBC review (I normally read reviews after I write mine, so as to not plagiarise, or copy any ideas, mostly unintentionally, but still), I read that “My Love is Better” was produced by Xenomania. It actually was supposed to have featured vocals from Girls Aloud (a prominent UK girl group), but it did not end up so in the end. I would have liked to have heard that version, and compared with the one that made the album.
Xenomania have also produced a fair amount of Brit Pop, so, with Girls Aloud on my mind, I felt “Loco”, also Xenomania produced, had a very Girls Aloud feel to it. “When the Night”, and “Heaven and Hell” are the other Xenomania produced tracks.
Overall, a very poppy, catchy, well produced album. I can’t really see why the major label would not have been interested in releasing it, hard to tell with them, I suppose it must be there is more than one good song! I’m kidding, as I do like a lot of major label releases. Seems the person who was representing her left to work at EMI UK, and the new person did not understand Annie. At least it was not an album that ended up in limbo.
The All Night EP continues with the album, containing the singles, “I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me”, and “Anthonio”.