The follow-up to Annie’s 2005 debut Anniemal has been a long time coming. In the last four years Don’t Stop has changed labels, been delayed, leaked, and now, at last, will be formally re-released in Nov with new tracks and an 80′s-glam neon-streaked cover that’s had the internet abuzz all summer.
Esoteric Swedish electronic label Smalltown Supersound, with its free-form style, May seem an unlikely home for Annie’s highbrow bubblegum, but they allowed Annie full control. The neo-Italo makeover of Stacy Q’s “Two of Hearts” and the Balaeric ode “Anthonioo’” didn’t make it onto the reshuffled album. But thanks to collaborations with Richard X, Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos and Xenomania’s Brian Higgins, Annie’s cross-genre “pop with strange edges” still comes together with plenty of bang.
As a DJ, Annie has thrown down eclectic sets that flip from French pop, to American R&B, No Wave and Post-Punk, to Euro club anthems. In her own music, she has managed an equally sophisticated balancing act. (Which May explain why she was recently invited to open for Saint Etienne again.) “My Love is Better” is as catty as the title suggests and amped by Kapranos’s big, brassy hooks: “Songs Remind Me of You” is a crackling club slice any pop tart in her not-right mind would kill for: and “I Don’t Like Your Band” is all the more sinister because it’s so giddy, witty and catchy. This is, recall, the same woman once spotted sashaying about with a bevy of puff-skirted beauties coolly cooing “I Know Your Girlfriend Hates Me.”
By most accounts, Annie should be a superstar. She has a solid tastemaker following and sheo’s the whole package – looks, skills, smarts, attitude. So what gives? Whatever the disconnect, Maybe Don’t Stop will change it. And if it doesn’t, the masses deserve the vapid divas they get. The rest of us will take Annie as is, one big wink and good beat after another.