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Don’t Stop The Sampler

Thanks to a quick hint, hint, nudge, nudge from my good friend over at XOLondon, I was able to come across the five track sampler from Annie‘s album, Don’t Stop. Plus “Loco,” which suspiciously opened for download on iTunes earlier this week for no apparent reason. Regardless, that’s six new tracks for inspection. So how does it all boil down?

“Songs Remind Me Of You” – I was clamoring on about this one last night, and I’m still digesting it in full tonight. A wonderful, storming throb of electro-electricity, hauntingly thin vocal work, and plenty of minor glitches and bleeps. Put them all together in a glittery blender and hit “pulse.” It follows the winning formula that J. Timberlake outlined when “SexyBack” first came out: Create a chorus that could stand on its own. Then, make it your bridge and create an even better chorus. The result is instantly infectious, and a sure-fire win. I’ll be unable to forget this one for a long time. I’m thinking ringtone?

“Loco” – PopJustice was truly on the money with this one. It’s the Girls Aloud track that was never recorded by the girls. “Long Hot Summer” is the most obvious similarity here, but it plays like a true What Will The Neighbours Say? album track. I think this one would be more fun if it were sung by the group, but that’s not fair to say really. It’s a 8/10’er for me.

“I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me” – This is the first single. We’ve all heard it before. It’s “Chewing Gum” redux. That’s not a bad thing, but there’s no growth here. You could mash the choruses together effortlessly. Moving on….

“My Love Is Better” – Fantastic, driving beat that acts as another Aloud track that never was, especially considering this was the axed collaboration effort. It’s actually a grower for me. Even though it was solid to begin with, the chorus is getting more playful by the minute each time I listen. It’s a lot of sass, “You know you’ll never/ Have my hips / I’m so much better / So eat this.” Now, now Annie…A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips. Or is that her plan all along for her unnamed arch enemy? Dirty!

“When The Night” – Here’s the ballad. Sounds as if Annie is singing through a single stream of dripping water in the last hour of prom night. An interesting effect that brings Dannii‘s “Disrememberance” to mind briefly, as well as a droplet of Cyndi Lauper‘s “Time After Time.” A very pensive, beating track that slips away quickly. I approve.

“Marie Cherie” – A seductive bossa nova-tinged track about a shy little girl that slips away from society. Quite spooky. It works well for Annie’s barely-there-vocals, and brings Emma Bunton‘s cover of “Life In Mono” to mind instantly. Sort of haunting, sort of creepy…yet warm, at the same time. A welcome change from the often overbearing pop ditty-ness of her previous work. A bit…mature, even.

That’s almost half the album–A solid A effort. Next most anticipated album of the year? More than likely, it seems.