Saturday, December 12, 2009

Review: Annie - Don't Stop (* * * 1/2)

That any pop artist can remain relevant by releasing only two LPs over the course of ten years is remarkable. But when you make the sort of impression that Norwegian singer Anne Lilia Berge Strand (or, Annie) did during the first half of this decade, perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising. Annie's 2004 debut, Anniemal (itself a long time coming, arriving five years after her breakthrough single), climbed the charts in Norway, becoming something of a modest hit elsewhere. And its critical reception elevated the record to almost cult-like status within the indie community, as loyal fans waited for more from this progressive-minded pop princess. Of course, the wait for her latest, Don’t Stop, wasn’t supposed to have been quite so long—label issues delayed the album’s official release by a full year. Much of the record leaked anyway, though, so those who were inclined got to listen to a first draft way ahead of time. There’s been plenty of discussion over which version of the album is better, but I only heard tracks from the early edition recently (you can find many of them on the Up All Night EP, if you’re curious), and tend to side with the official release over the bootleg. (Continue Reading @ In Review Online)