Anniela is the latest singer to come out of the poptastic record company Hitworks Sweden. Emerging somewhat like the mighty 1980’s hitfactory headed by Pete Waterman, Hitworks have struck gold with Anniela’s album Extravaganza. It studies the likes of Janet Jackson and Britney’s first few albums engendering a tight product that rarely gets released these days. This is a classic Jive Records-type album of yesterday-year. You can almost hear Solid Harmonie in the back. Its that retro. This album is basically made for the TRL generation. Those who pine for that time...
Delicious: Herein, Anniela egoistically declares that she is ever so seductive and rather attractive. How, er, humble. Weirdly, this song is a bit a boring. Ironically then not at all delicious. More tepid to taste. Saying that though, if you like Marie Serneholts Melodifestivalen entry you could really dig Delicious. 3/10
Strip-Teaser: This is a lot better. Delicious simply suffered because it was the first track and didn’t deserve to kick-start the album. This however does. Written by the same team behind the great Swedish girlband NG3 this ode to members of the population who reveal body parts for a living is completely addictive. It also has a very dirty chorus. And watch out for a swear-word or two. This song clearly states what Anniela is about. This recalls hard American pop, drenched in typical Ng3 Swedish pop and Soccx-esq beats. While this is indeed ‘hot’ its like the feminist movement never happened. That is my only sour note regarding Strip-Teaser. I would score it higher otherwise. See the video here. 6/10
Slowly: Slowly is a brilliant dance track which could easily be a Melodifestivalen entry for Anniela. This about doing things slowly. Which I can totally relate to being a student. I love the chorus-its ever so A*Teens-esq. This is irritably catchy. 10/10
Push It: This song could have been on Britney’s last two albums. Its really really good. Perhaps Britney doesn’t deserve catchy pop songs like this. Perhaps she does. This is a dancier version of Gimmie More only if you can imagine excavating all of those Danja’s trademark blips and bops. This is a great song mainly for its epic chorus. Think of Girls and Boys by Britney. 10/10
Relite The Fires: The ballad. Velvet’s ballads on The Queen were a tad weak and interrupted the flow of dance voyage that was her amazing second album. Relite The Fires doesn’t have this problem. It’s a bit like when BwO do a ballad. Its intimate, close and sweet. I think it’s the use of the strings. This ballad works. 8/10
Lure You In: “Talk talk some sense to me”. Well indeed! The chorus sounds like an electronic/pop dance rift of a Kelly Clarkson/Max Martin single. There’s even a few drums/guitars coupled-in at the back of this track. Anniela does soft-rock? Nearly. Its more electrorock. 8/10
Wicked Boy: The refrain “I will never love you, never be your toy…nah nah nah” bounces extremely well. This bounces along rather well. Anniela sounds on fire on this track as it speedily rushes by your earphones. Again, fans of Marie Serneholt will love this and wonder why Marie didn’t record more of this type of music when she recorded her album. A stellar track that gets extra points for the “nah nah” bits. 9/10
Sorry: The second ballad. Do all Swedish releases this year have to include two ballads. This is so Britney Spears its great. Remember when Britney was Born to Make us happy? Remember Sometimes? Remember Everytime? Remember Before The Goodbye? Yes, this is all those epic Britney tracks all wrapped into one. And naturally it ultimately works. This will take you right back to heady days of 1997-2000. Perfect. 10/10
Fed Up: Woah! Why put the best track on the album right at the back? This is the song that should be first track on the album. It is full attitude without being ridiculous. The second the chorus kicks in with the “I’m the girl you talk about!” you find yourself sliding from side to side. I can hear the boys of 5ive back-flipping to Fed Up. The beats in the chorus are great. By the end of the song, you can even hear the backing vocals that were so reminiscent of Solid Harmonie’s better singles. Big chunks of electro synth’s provide the baseline which are backed up with brilliant hands-in-air lyrics that recall Geri’s now legendary Look At Me sentimentalities. Better than perfect. Clearly a single which deserves some really good Janet Jackson type choreography in the video. Fed Up is brilliant. 11/10
Crescendo: Another instant song. Another rather rude song about climax. And of course, very aware of what the song is about. Anniela demands the listener “do her good”, “back-up her innuendo” and “flick the shame”. Coming in at barely 2: 54 minutes this is over before it’s begun. Its like she hasn’t even bite the pillow yet and the night is wrapped. As such, I think this song is simply too short to be fully enjoyed. It hits you, rides you and then leaves you panting for more. When Britney does fun tracks like Girls & Boys, Do Something & If You Seek Amy, they sound a lot like Crescendo. Excellent! 9/10
Get It On: This is so Britney Spears (circa Circus) but with more kitch-bitch-pop appeal. Yes, take the bad ass sensibilities of Britney’s recent efforts but layer that with a tremendous amount of melody and you’ve got Get It On in one. Another very short song coming in just 2 minutes 20 seconds. I love this. Its totally cute. 9/10
Never Met A Boy: Aww, this a sweet saccharine urban ballad that is nothing more than an easy pop song. 7/10 (on first listening). On another listening, I LOVE LOVE this track. 10/10
Shiver: Annela ends the album with a rocky type track. Here she tries her best Busted impression but it doesn’t quite pay off. Its weird. The bookends of the album are actually aren’t as good as the middle bits. Both track one and track thirteen don’t do the album any justice. Shiver needs a key change. Rock songs such as this need a massive vocal at the end. This fails to give you that. 3/10
Final Thoughts on Anniela’s Extravaganza: This album recalls a time when one thought of Britney as the pop princess and not the paparazzi chaos that surrounds her. The focus within the album is simple pop. No attempt to be otherwise. You won’t find any jumping on the bandwagons here. Thank fuck! Anniela has produced the kind of album that Britney used to make back in the day when the only controversy seemed to be her relationship with Justin Timberlake and that wonderful rivalry with Christina Aguilera. Perhaps, despite the obvious connections to sex, stripping and so forth, Extravaganza is a celebration of when pop was pretty innocent. In that sense, this album is brilliant. No silly Danja rifts. Just pure pop. Yes, there are the swear-words and taken as a whole, the album excels in being rather rude in its content but highly clean in its sound and layout. People who thirst for Marie Serneholts new album will like Anniela. Moreover, fans of pop who love a good fuck here and there but can do without the overproduction of Britney-Christina-LadyGaGa’s recent efforts will love this uncomplex yet highly structured pop album. Anniela celebrates traditional pop. If you can recall a time before the pop princess emerged as a constant tabloid construct and the only real story was her singles and albums you’ll love Anniela’s new album. It retraces a sort of pop we rarely hear these days. There are no Bloodshy type songs here, Robyn-ilk tracks are elsewhere and both RedOne and Danja productions are simply figments of the imagination. This is pop as it was once: neat, structured, sexy, rude, indecent and pure. As such, it is beyond zeitgeist and thus Extravaganza is a great album. An extravaganza indeed!
Posted by Robpop at Wednesday, April 08, 2009