Annie – Anniemal (2004)

A rare debut that arrives with urgency and polish, Annie’s underground smash is still a remarkable effort nearly fifteen years later. From the opening intro, segueing directly into the cheeky, sweetly sarcastic “Chewing Gum,” the album’s mixture of amped-up 1980s synths with remarkably vibrant pop and dance-floor electronica still stands out despite how much indie pop has changed since its release. Annie’s vocals are thin and airy but completely in favor of the album’s overall tone, with its subtly dark and soulful undercurrent that underlines each hook and pining lyric. The standout remains “Heartbeat,” a touching farewell to a deceased boyfriend that focuses on the horizon ahead without disrespecting the past.

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

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