Half formula, half adventure
“Do you want more, baby, do you want more?”
These are the first words Annie purrs on her sophomore album, a come-on that would fit snugly on a Britney Spears anthology. It may seem befuddling how this Norwegian singer gets the indie oligarchy’s sacred seal of approval while other remarkably similar pop acts don’t. But listening to the rest of Don’t Stop
, it becomes clear that Annie is more adventurous than her peers.
The top half of the record offers a heaping serving of the big-beat oomph that first catapulted her to international acclaim. (See, for instance, the rollicking “My Love Is Better,” which plays like the soundtrack to the world’s greatest pinball machine.) Her production team polishes every surface to a euphoric, neon sheen. But side two tweaks the formula, most notably with the haunted orchestral fog of “Marie Cherie.” It’s an inspired recasting of Annie’s wispy voice, which seems to ring truest when draped in melancholy. That vulnerability—more than anything else—sets Annie apart from the pack.