Anitta – Versions of Me’ review: filter-free hustler continues her global charm offensive

Mixing power-pop, reggaetón and more, this Cardi B-featuring album is a searingly ambitious affair from a star who knows exactly what she wants

Few musicians hustle as effectively as Anitta, the 29-year-old singer-songwriter who’s been a superstar in her native Brazil for nearly a decade. She’s said that she made her last album, 2019’s ‘Kisses’, a tremendously entertaining set sung in Portuguese, Spanish and English, as a kind of musical calling card to attract attention from international record labels. It worked: she’s now signed to Warner in the US and continuing her global charm offensive with ‘Versions of Me’, a searingly ambitious album executive produced by OneRepublic‘s Ryan Tedder that features collaborations with Cardi B, Khalid and Saweetie.

Like ‘Kisses’, it’s a trilingual affair, but this time around Anitta sings a lot more frequently in English. ‘Que Rabão’, which features late Brazilian icon Mr. Catro, is the album’s only Portuguese song. Her fans really appreciate her filter-free personality – she recently told US chat show host Andy Cohen that she came down with “crazy diarrhoea” before recording with Madonna in 2019  – and this straight-shooting approach works a treat on the EDM-flecked ‘I’d Rather Have Sex’. “Stay up all night in an argument? / Nah, I’d rather have sex,” Anitta coos with casual confidence.

She’s equally candid on the title track, an electro-bop that sounds a bit like a modern update of Madonna’s mid-’80s sound. When Anitta sings “I’m over-the-top / Don’t really care if you like it or not,” owning the fact she can be a bit extra and all over the place, it already sounds like a TikTok trend in the making.

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Actually, Anitta has already conquered the social media app with this album’s opening track, ‘Envolver’, a brilliant reggaetón bop that has become her highest-charting song to date on the Billboard Hot 100. There’s more rock-solid reggaetón where that came from, especially the sultry Khalid collab ‘Ur Baby’ and harder-edged ‘Gata’, but Anitta also pulls off Panic! At The Disco-inspired powerpop (‘Boys Don’t Cry), dreamy alt-R&B (‘Love Me, Love Me’) and a Saweetie-assisted blend of EDM and Brazilian funk (‘Faking Love’).

She even reimagines the bossa nova classic ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ as ‘Girl from Rio’, an affectionate electro-pop celebration of her hometown. “Hot girls, where I’m from, we don’t look like models / Tan lines, big curves and the energy glows,” Anitta sings sweetly. Given its gleeful genre-hopping and array of features, it would be a stretch to call ‘Versions of Me’ cohesive or streamlined, but it’s held together by Anitta’s ambition and charisma. She knows exactly what she wants – and on this evidence, she’s going to get it.

Details

Release date: April 12th

Record label: Warner

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