Pop Pop Pop

May 20, 2010


Today I feel like pop music is fun again. By fun I mean a lot of records that get played on the radio have that electro, techno, and/or house sounds attached to them. The credit goes to artists, DJs, and producers like Kanye West, Will.I.Am, Lady Gaga, David Guetta and Dr. Luke, who are taking that electro-pop sound and matching it to big, catchy vocals.

But there are other ways to go with electro pop. It’s time to head to Norway and meet Anne Lilia Berge Strand, but you may know her as Annie.

Let’s talk about her second album Don’t Stop.

What I like about Annie as a singer is that her limited vocal range makes her sound shy, but her songwriting comes with confidence and emotion so on her best songs she comes across as a shy person bursting out of her shell or making the big romantic confessional in a John Hughes movie. Coming from a singer with a more whisper-and-boom range, the party songs would sound trite and the confessional songs would come across like Simon Cowell wrote them.

Annie’s performance style also holds the whole album together. She worked with a number of different producers and musicians. The resulting is stylistic diversity which would break an album under a lesser singer, but comes out like a very quirky and smart dance pop record.

Two of my favorite songs on this album illustrate this dichotomy. “My Love Is Better” is a dance rock roller rink extravaganza with Xenomania and Franz Ferdinand teaming up to turn Annie into a nerdy disco queen.

Meanwhile “Take You Home” finds Annie taking us back to her house and serenading us with her organ. But things don’t get all lovey-dovey or even emo. They get complicated and sad and give this otherwise cheerful album a melancholy center.

“I don’t love you / I want to take you home”

This album leaked to the internet in 2008 and came out for real in 2009 with 5 more songs, but only if you buy it on CD. I have had yet to see this album at my local Best Buy or Borders, but I have seen it at both Twist And Shout in Denver and Earshot in Greenville. Support your local record store and support awesome dance pop artists.


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