Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Music: Anniemal • Annie

Genre: Pop, dance, electropop
Released: June 7, 2005
Verdict: &&&

Who is this Annie, looking all pixyish and playful on the cover of her cleverly titled Anniemal CD? Thanks to iTunes, I snagged her remarkable single "Me Plus One" as a free download last year. Channeling early Human League tracks like "Love Action" and "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" while dizzying the listener with layer upon layer of intoxicating melodies, "Me Plus One" packs more pop punch than half the songs currently on the Hot 100 combined. I recently acquired the full CD, which is quite good, even if it's not brimming with songs of that caliber. I can't help thinking that album opener "Chewing Gum," with the sly kiss-off, "Oh no, oh no / You've got it all wrong / You think you're chocolate / When you're chewing gum," would have become a huge hit with a bit of exposure. There's a glistening pop sheen on everything here, and nothing feels like obvious filler. In the latter half, Anniemal does grow a bit tiresome, and "Happy Without You" is almost grating. But that's followed by the second-best cut, "Greatest Hit," which was first released in 1999 and brilliantly samples the early Madonna track "Everybody." Pop fans should hunt this Anniemal, an under-the-radar gem that deserved to have a hit single.

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