Going into the night…
One of the talents that graced the electronic music scene during the early 2000s was the pop perfection of Annie. Tunes such as ‘Heartbeat’, ‘Songs Remind Me of You’ and ‘Anthonio’ served as a showcase for engaging electropop topped off by the Norwegian musician’s whispery vocals.
Originally starting out with a DJ stint in Bergen, Annie moved into music of her own quite swiftly, releasing her debut single ‘The Greatest Hit’ in 1999. The disco pop number put her name on the map and paved the way for a career picked out by accomplished electropop bangers.
Her 2004 debut album Anniemal was a critical success with Pitchfork describing it as a “dozen slices of stylish, sophisticated electropop” (and featured the album in their top fifty albums of 2004). Along the way, Annie has worked with the likes of Röyksopp, members of Franz Ferdinand, acclaimed songwriter Hannah Robinson and production supremo Richard X.
Annie’s equally excellent follow-up album Don’t Stop arrived in 2009 (which featured the stunning ‘Songs Remind Me of You’), but outside of some EP releases following that release, she’s kept a relatively lower profile than previous years.
More recently, Annie has been busy penning new material for her forthcoming third album release Dark Hearts. This new album also sees Annie collaborating with Swedish producer Stefan Storm (Sounds Of Arrows), who’s no stranger to crafting smooth synth tunes.
Described by Annie as “the soundtrack to a film that doesn’t exist”, Dark Hearts is said to take inspiration from everything from Twin Peaks to The Wicker Man.
‘American Cars’ is the first release from Dark Hearts, an evocative electropop adventure which showcases Annie’s distinctive airy vocals. “it was partly inspired by the David Cronenberg film Crash” comments Annie on the new song, “It was 2pm and the only other people in the cinema were two old men, a mum and her screaming baby, and sixteen-year-old me. It was quite a strange experience. The film is about pushing it to the edge. When you’re looking for something dark you don’t necessarily know why you’re doing it. But you’re pushing the boundaries. You can fall, or almost fall, but you climb back.”
Meanwhile, the evolution of new album Dark Hearts was charted over a three year period. It was complicated by Annie becoming a mother and also by her move from Berlin to Bergen. “I did a lot of recording while I was pregnant, puking while I was singing. Stefan had to go out to buy me liquorice, but I still managed to do some quite good vocals.”
Meanwhile, ‘American Cars’ offers up some nods to synthwave with its twilight pop approach. Warm layers of synths and a restrained percussion provide a slick foundation for Annie’s mesmerising voice. Evocative lines such as “I let go of the wheel and take over my heart/So before we crash kiss me under the stars” have a siren-like call to them, giving the whole composition a beguiling dreamlike quality.
Dark Hearts will mark Annie’s twenty year anniversary in the world of pop, of which ‘American Cars’ is a polished taste of what’s to come.
‘American Cars’ is out now. Dark Hearts is released 16th October.