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4.5 out of 5 stars
Anniemal
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Imagine a very strange pop cocktail: start with a large shot of new millennium Kylie, add a dose of Rachel Stevens at her best and finally fill up the glass with that fizzy quirkiness that, more than often than one might expect, has made the Scandinavian countries legendary for producing more good music than their small populations might suggest reasonable. If you can you might just have some idea of what to expect from `Anniemal'.
Annie is from Norway and this is her debut effort but you would never guess. Neither conservative nor self consciously weird in style or content - it is very listenable from the start and only gets better with repeated listening. That it is a more than competent debut is a fact; what slowly dawns is that it is a stunningly confident one. It combines a mixture of electronica with pure pop, touches of R `n' B and rock, plus a noticeable dance sensibility in a way that is somehow quite lacking in self-consciousness, let alone any pretension. It is one of those rare albums that give the impression of being created rather than planned perhaps helped by the fact that she co-wrote and produce the majority of the tracks

It starts with `Intro', which has Annie talking over a variety of bleeps and electronic anniemal noises. This is followed by the Richard X produced `Chewing Gum' along with the quite different sounding `Me Plus One'. As he produced Rachel Steven's `Some Girls' the connection is certainly there.
Another outstanding track is `Heartbeat' again co-written and produced by Annie. Many a well-established artist would kill for a track like this, while on the other hand the rather happy dance influenced `Greatest Hit' (As someone suggested to me this is slightly reminiscent of Faithless tracks featuring Dido, but on Prozac!) samples `Everybody' by Madonna, who is undoubtedly a big influence on Annie's music.
The title track `Anniemal' seems to me to be a very subtle parody of Abba. The opening lines, " She's a locked up girl, in a RICH MAN'S WORLD" - `Money, Money, Money' (!) and it goes on, but it is far too clever to ever be crass.

It is very hard to find a filler track on this album, or indeed even a predictable one. It really is that good. If you like pop with a difference then this is worth a listen. Why only 4 stars then? - Well someone this talented has potential to do even better and the scale runs out at five...

Richard (Frome, Somerset, UK)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2005
Leave it to Scandinavia to come up with the most innovative music on earth. First and foremost, no one can deny the impact of Bjork, who hails from Iceland. Then you get Sigur Ros, with their unique blast of a sound. Then you get the breezy sounds of Royksopp, who have worked on a couple of tracks with Norwegian prodigy-child Annie.

With a distinct ear for dance music, an expertise in electronica and the uncanny attempt at experimentalism, Annie unleashes Anniemal to receive a reaction from an industry that is unlikely to praise any music that makes the feet move.

On the other hand Annie did receive dance floor acclaim with her first single which has been on circulated in vinyl since 1999. "Greatest Hit" is a brisk dance track that samples a loop from Madonna's first ill-fated single "Everybody."

Other than that the other tracks have only been available recently, like "Chewing Gum," which is so intentionally cheesy it becomes a work of kitsch.

Other sounds are incorporated into the fusion of this album and give an electro-lush feel. "Always Too Late" caters to R&B fans and "Come Together" is an eight minute long pure disco ditty.

Shakatak tribute "No Easy Love" is both a chill and groove-by track. Then there are the straight-up loud lounge songs like "Me Plus One" and the gorgeous "Anniemal." But the highlight of the album is the haunting backdrop, yet dance-ridden "My Heartbeat," which is definitely a hit waiting to happen.

Other pieces blend dance music from across the pop culture plane. The Telepopmusik cross with 90's drums, "Happy Without You," explains the fusion of this album, while "Helpless Fool For Love" sounds like a mashup between Fashion TV compilations and Donna Summer's monumental "Love To Love You Baby."

Annie is definitely on her way in the music world, ff not for global success, then a club favorite. Anniemal is a giddy ride into the fusion of all dance music from disco to electronica to break-beat.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2005
At first glance and listen, Annie is one of those artists that indie lovers may pass over. That should not be the case. I first heard Annie on KEXP, which is one of the most progressive modern music stations in the US. Annie's sound reminds me of the Tom Tom Club and Human League, Abba, Madonna, and some of the 80's girl groups. What keeps me listening besides the great voice and vocal delivery is the production. The electronic dance beat layering done by the producers is great. This CD will make some great jams whether you are listening alone, at the backyard BBQ, or in the club. Annie should have wide appeal from both the indie crowd and the mainstream pop set. That's a tight-walk that is not easy to maneuver, but Annie pulls it off.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2006
This is what Madonna's Confessions On A Dance Floor should have sounded like. Self-effacing, fun and absolutely poptastic, Anniemal introduces Norway dance chick Anne Lilia Berge-Strand to the commercial music spectrum over half a decade since she debuted with her fresh single Greatest Hit. Even with seven years elapsing since this track first gained attention in the Nordic dance niche, the song (containing a sample of Madonna's overlooked early single Everybody) remains such a lost gem that it has been appropriately included on Anniemal for newcomers. Greatest Hit is not alone in its finely honed production, with taut tracks including the soaring Helpless Fool For Love, the slipping beat of Chewing Gum and elegant desire of My Heartbeat.

While Annie's musically happy to follow in her trailblazing Detroit footsteps, she appears wary of totally aligning her career with Madonna's. Me Plus One harnesses the funky buzz of Michael Jackson's Off The Wall while analysing the pitfalls of fame and the glamorous life and Always Too Late finds Annie shunning the role of pop diva with the lyric "I don't wanna wanna be a prima donna". With Annie's cheekiness obvious throughout the album, it's possible she may even be singing "I don't wanna wanna be a prim Madonna", although there's little chance of her light and breezy pop being relocated to an English manor just yet.

From the cute nursery rhyme and electro tsunami buzz of Intro through to My Best Friend, Anniemal is an intelligent release that balances the heavier lyrical topic of death with exuberant production and coquettish charm. With her enjoyable helium vocals and fine production, Annie's success is only a day away.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Anniemal is an unqualified masterpiece that fell into my i-Pod due to a brief review in Mojo magazine. Once it's been inside your head and left, a dull ache spreads from the brainstem downward to every extremity, until your finger taps "replay." This is the kind of LP you listen to 100 times in the first three days, and then 150 times each day beyond that, until you finally melt back into your armchair and grow embittered over having to wait for her next album to fall like manna from the clouds. I am 38 years old, but I wrote her a letter of thanks after hearing "Heartbeat." Buy this, borrow it, or steal it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I've been listening to an imported copy of Anniemal since January, and it's absolutely fantastic. It's smart, catchy pop that you'll find yourself listening to over and over again. Aside from the last track, "My Best Friend," the album doesn't miss a beat. Every song is a winner. My favorites include "Chewing Gum," "Always Too Late," "Heartbeat," and, at almost eight minutes in length, the stand-out "Come Together."

If you're even remotely curious about Annie, give this album a try. Who knows? You'll probably find yourself humming these charms to yourself all day long!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2005
Annie proves she's a talent to be reckoned with on her US debut! Anniemal doesn't miss a beat. Annie's smooth vocal delivery is easy on the ears and all tracks are melodious, infectious pop. Nothing heavy here, just pure pop fun. True standouts are the international hit: 'Heartbeat', the grooving: 'Chewing Gum', and the title track.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2006
Hailing from Norway, not far from pop capital of the world Sweden (ABBA, Ace of Base, et al.), Annie's debut record "Anniemal" is a sweeping, dizzying, & sexy trip. It seemed though that this record was more of a critical darling than a commercial one, which is a shame, since this was one of the better pop records I've heard in recent memory.

Annie sets up shop as the charming Euro-girl next door, placing herself in unique, tried & true (yet never stale) pop arrangements. Richard X produces some of the record, as well as her deceased boyfriend Erot, amongst others. The sounds literally "pop" ("Me Plus One"), chug charmingly along ("No Easy Love", "Always Too Late") or simply just charm with a dilly sense of humor ("Anniemal").

Annie's voice evokes latter-day "Fever" era Kylie Minogue, with early trashy/sensual Madonna undertones on two of best cuts: "Chewing Gum" & "The Greatest Hit". The first, lyrically is rather clever, as she uses the analogy of gum to describe men who are merely stops along the way, & not the mainstay "chocolate" she is looking for. Annie's posturing bravado, yet unassuming sounding voice (cue Kylie reference I made earlier) makes this song a surefire winner. It comes off as intelligent & camp, not moronic unlike another obnoxious "pop" singer (Fergie). The latter, "The Greatest Hit" brings in the Madonna not just in tone vocally, but musically. This cut samples Madonna's first single "Everybody" to great effect. Sly, sensual, & with a wink of smuttiness politely tucked away underneath the lyrics, this is probably the best song on the record. Did I mention how she uses handclaps & tongue clicking together on this cut, you have to hear it to believe it.

Lastly, Annie brings some late 1970's disco-toned pop on "Heartbeat" & "Come Together" respectively, the latter winning the price for bringing this across in it's epic scope.

Overall, Annie brings the fun & the coyness, without sounding stupid, or tired. One can only hope for an IMMEDIATE follow-up that has the same similar quality, but with the added push of promotion to show these other pop-wannabe-tarts how to do it right. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2006
this cd is super tight, if you like any kind of electronic dance music, this cd is for you..reminds me goldfrapp and the knife and kylie minogue..awesome cd from start to finsh, extremely catchy and fun music. Annie Rocks!.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2005
I love amazon.com, but I would recommend purchasing these "imports" via iTunes or some online music store. This album, for example, is only(...) through iTunes.
Aside from the inflated import price, this is a great album!
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