Release Date: Oct 16, 2020
Record label: Annie Melody
Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Dance, Left-Field Pop
More than a few of us, these days, have been keeping an unusual, deliberate focus on our memories as they form: which ones we'd keep, which ones we'd prefer to destroy, whether any were worth keeping at all, and how they'll come out decades later. What we might be left with, the research suggests, are "smudged reproductions": memories recalled through a fogged-over lens, hazier than life. Dark Hearts, Annie's first album in about a decade, is formed entirely of these smudged reproductions.
It's a rare artist who can step away for 11 years and still command attention on their return - trends shift, listeners grow up, icons tumble back down to Earth - and Bergen’s Annie, apart from a smattering of tracks and features, has been absent since 2009's Xenomania-helmed Don't Stop. But now she's back with Dark Hearts, a grown-up album of sleek sophisti-pop and ’80s influences, synths that shine with a fluorescent glow, and unobtrusive beats. It’s blissful.
Annie made a big impression on the alternative dance-pop music scene of the mid-2000's. Her singles and albums (2005's Anniemal and 2009's Don't Stop) were fresh and bubbly, combining synth pop, '80s radio sounds, and pulsing techno into snappy and fun songs sung in sweet and disarming fashion. She made a couple of great singles in the 2010s that showed that, despite fading from view a bit, her pop sensibility was as strong as ever.
It's a bold move to release your first album in a decade in a year when promoting it is virtually impossible, and yet that's what Annie has done. Though EPs and standalone singles have followed, Dark Hearts marks the Norwegian pop singer's first full length album since 2009's Don't Stop. But then this version of Annie is very different from the artist who only five years ago was still releasing electro pop songs meant for the dance floor.