Anne-Marie’s songs feel more like intimate beer garden conversations with your mates, as objected to algorithm-chasing anthems. She has co-written with a collection of collaborators, including Ed Sheeran‘ 2002’ – delivered in 2018. It was a summary volley of youthful nostalgia while ‘Birthday’ was driven by a carefree celebration two years later: “I’m a do what I like, I’m a eat what I like, I’m a kiss who I like,” she sang over sparkling synths.
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It’s a shame that her debut album ‘Speak Your Mind’ consumed too much time pretending it was safe rather than conferring off the same charismatic personality we’ve seen since. When she rose on The Great Celebrity Bake-Off, she most infamously and freely admitted she didn’t know what a cheese scone was. Unfortunately, its follow-up ‘Therapy’ doesn’t make the same mistake. It takes less than a minute for opener’ x2′ to switch from soulful and friendly to downright menacing as the revenge banger sees Anne-Marie engaging “a nice bit of old skool juicy payback”. It isn’t easy to imagine anyone else making the same commitment to an ex.
That huge personality is all across the album, and she never works to shorten to fit in. As Anne-Marie composes on the driving ‘Who I Am, “you can love me or hate me. Nothing’s going to change me.” She’s just as bold on ‘Beautiful’, exploring her insecurities over swaying percussion. It’s a unifying instant of posi-pop as Anne-Marie supports people to embrace who they observe in the mirror. Likewise, ‘Better Not Together’ and ‘Tell Your Girlfriend’ switch heartbreak times into powerful self-confidence statements. It’s telling that there’s not a single song on the whole record.
There are a few brilliant collaborations, though. ‘Our Song’ is the best attribute Niall Horan has done since 1D, while the fist-pumping dancing track ‘Unloveable’ marks her reunite with her former touring mates Rudimental. ‘Kiss My (Uh Oh)’ is a big team-up with Little Mix that redoes Lumidee’s noughties classic ‘Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh)’. It’s an impeccable combo.
And musically, also, ‘Therapy’ is extremely more confident. It doesn’t over-stretch to promote pop music ahead, but it’s not distant from the cutting edge, either. With songs exerting influence from trance, indie and electronic music, each track on the album sounds so complex that – at first listen – you’d be forgiven for assuming you’d tuned in to Spotify’s The Pop List alternatively. From many artists, this path might feel slightly scattershot. Here, it never appears nameless, and Anne-Marie’s bold personality is eventually allowed to shine on a no-nonsense album that’s overflowing with chart-busting tunes and real-world attitude.
Anne-Marie has revealed she scrapped a complete album in 2019 before writing her new record, Therapy.
Before working on her upcoming LP, which is released this Friday (July 23), Anne-Marie told Music Week that she shelved an entirely different project in 2019, which she describes as “some weirds**t”.
Then after a dad and his growing daughter met her after a show, with the parent describing how much of a role model Anne-Marie was for his baby, she rang her supervisor that same day and removed the plug on the new material.
While some acts sit on unreleased music for years, Anne-Marie wrote all but one of the tracks on Therapy last year during a lockdown, a time that the Essex-born singer says allowed her to “concentrate on what [she’s] giving to people”.
Anne-Marie’s subsequent studio album Therapy is delivered this Friday and highlights the Top 10 singles Don’t Play and Our Song. Her debut album Speak Your Mind peaked at Serial Number 3 in May 2018 and is BRIT Certified Platinum.
The singer has been bothered by insecurity since her adolescent years at school in Essex.
At 14 years of age, she was accused of cheating on her boyfriend, which scandalized her classmates. The truth was less dramatic – she’d spoken to another boy on the phone late at night – but school is school, and “everyone turned against me” in an instant.