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Annie gets her bubblegum.Anne Lilia Berge Strand used to run a club in her home town of Bergen, Norway, with a good name: Pop Till You Drop. “I thought of the name first, and it sounded like an excellent place to hang out. So I had to start the real club.”
The 28-year-old singer played early 80s New York 12-inchers by ESG, experimental dance music by American-Japanese duo Mu and “weird pop”. While her debut album, Anniemal, contains elements of all the above, it’s the pop – with a peppering of weird – which shines through.
“It’s pop with strange edges,” confirms Annie. You can hear it in the singles. Chewing Gum, produced by Richard X was a sassy, finger-wagging piece of nursery rhyme electro, while second single, My Heartbeat (produced by Röyksopp’s Torbjørn Brundtland), sounds like a breathy and addictive St Etienne record. “I live in Bergen, my band are in Finland and I spent a long time going to clubs and hanging out in London. I guess they’re all in the DNA of the record.”
The album also contains Annie’s first release, 1999’s electro-disco club hottie, Greatest Hit, which she made with her boyfriend, DJ Tore Kroknes, who sadly died of a heart disorder in 2001. “The album is dedicated to Tore, and whenever I was stuck I would wonder what he’d do. I think he’d like the album, but it’s inspired by more than just my sorrow.”
Along with an understandable melancholia on songs like My Best Friend, Anniemal is a neon-tinted soundtrack to messy nights out, being lost on a dancefloor, of first kisses and last buses home. There’s also a strong fixation with early Madonna. “It’s a shame,” says Annie whimsically. “Madonna could make another great record but she’s stuck with [producer] Mirwais. She should get with someone new. Like me.”
Annie – Anniemal, released 07 March 05 on 679 Recordings.
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