I want more, baby, I want more

So, here we are. A year and some number of months after it was supposed to be in our hands, Annie has unleashed her second album. Entitled 'Don't Stop' - as if you didn't know that already - it is just as much of a mixed bag as 'Anniemal' was however many years ago. [I honestly prefer not to think about it, as it shouldn't be as long ago as it was.]

Mixed bag implies bad - which, of course, this is not: there's really not a dud to be found amongst the 17 tracks that make up the album proper and the 'All Night EP', its new companion. [I've even come around to "Marie Charie", which I previously found to be a snorefest.] That said, there is a huge difference in the quality of goodness of the tracks, if you will.

First, the biggest crime: excellent lead single-when-it-was-to-be-released-on-Island "I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me" - why is it not "H8s", by the way? - has been exiled to bonus-disc land, along with the stopgap also produced by Richard X single "Anthonio". [Nothing produced by Richard X should ever be anything than an projects main focus, fact. See also: Pet Shop Boys' "Fugitive".]

Second: best-closing-track-to-an-album-in-ages and in-need-of-a-proper-single-release stormer "Songs Remind Me Of You" - also produced by Richard X, see a trend? - has been moved to the middle of the disc. Side one, track six to be exact. Two problems within this problem. One: the second half of the album is now a total anti-climax, despite it containing the hate-it-or-really-really-love-it "The Breakfast Song". [I'm very much in the latter camp. In fact, I'd say it's my favorite Annie track...after "Songs", of course. Oh, and "Chewing Gum". Top three, then.] Two: the album closer is now the ho-hum "Heaven And Hell" - which was fine as a mid-album, erm, album track but can't carry the responsibility of closing what should be the pop album of the year. Fail. :(

In the tracklisting re-jigging, we picked up three new songs. "Hey Annie" leads us off with a great marching band beat chant - even if it doesn't quite do the job as opener as well was "My Love Is Better", it is a solid tune. "Don't Stop" is a great, if a bit Annie-by-numbers uptempo number. Only "I Don't Like Your Band" - which is a good time in its own right - doesn't really fit in on the album, sounding like it would be better suited to - here's the twist - a bonus disc. [Bonus disc tracks are the new b-sides, yes? Actually, it could've been used as the b-side to "Songs Remind Me Of You" as that release contained NOTHING. *sigh*]

Here's my proposition. [And everyone who cares about the album has their own ideal tracklist, I'm sure.] Perfect pop albums are 10 tracks, no question. All killer, no filler, etc. How about:

Hey Annie
My Love Is Better
I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me
Don't Stop
Sweet [another casualty of the new tracklist - no room for this one? Really?]

Side B
Take You Home
The Breakfast Song
I Can't Let Go
Songs Remind Me Of You


Here's the thing. It's fantastic - a minor miracle, really - that this album got a proper release. And for what it is, it rather quite good. My only issue with it is that it could be SO much better with a little more attention. [Considering the amount of time they had to get it ready for release, that's a bit silly.] Fortunately, we live in the era of iTunes playlists so it's super easy to make your own 'Don't Stop' v.3.


stunning new La Roux art work alert

So after the relative tanking of "I'm Not Your Toy" in the charts, Polydor has apparently decided to play it safe with the next - and probably final - single from the La Roux album by re-releasing "Quicksand". [Which Elly has said she wouldn't do, but funny how these things work.] Anyways...

"As If By Magic" would clearly have been a better choice, however this is what we've got. The tracklist is made up of a new remix by Boy 8 Bit and the previously available Beni's Sinking At 1.56 remix. *sigh* Once again, no shaped picture-disc 7", this time we get a heavyweight etched one...

One thing I will say, though, is that the artwork for this campaign has been fantastic. Totally spot on. Good job.