Album review: Annie – ‘Don’t Stop’

Xenomania-abetted lipstick-pop genius finally strikes

This is the story of the record that waited. In limbo since [a]Annie[/a]’s split with Island Records last November, ‘Don’t Stop’ has been hanging around in various forms for almost a year. The lead single has been switched more times than a Sugababes member (it currently rests at ‘Songs Remind Me Of You’) and the tracklisting has been mercurial (a version of ‘Two Of Hearts’ has been lost – moment of silence please). But, oh boy, was it worth the wait. Though production is split three ways between Xenomania, Paul Epworth and Timo Kaukolampi, the record is all Annie’s own.

On ‘I Don’t Like Your Band’, her (ahem) m-annie-festo is laid out – “You gotta ditch your instruments/And start it up again/Buy yourself a sequencer/And then let the games begin” – before she begins to prove her point. ‘My Love Is Better’ is a room-crossing lipgloss swagger. Initially it had [a]Girls Aloud[/a] doing backing vocals, but the world ultimately decided that such a combination of amazingness would cause the galaxy to explode. Elsewhere, ‘Marie Cherie’ is a Sofia Coppola-atmospheric tale of a little-girl-lost, with a lazy samba beat, and the final two tracks – ‘When The Night’ and ‘Heaven And Hell’ – find our protagonist in lovelorn form. A heart of glass is smashed. Or not. With a record this good, how could a boy bring her down? True to form, on ‘Heaven And Hell’, Annie sings “Tell me, tell me what did I do wrong?/Oh baby, I am perfect”. Attagirl.

Ailbhe Malone

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Click here to get your copy of Annie’s ‘Don’t Stop’ from the Rough Trade shop.