Required listening: Annie’s “Animal”

iTunes’ weekly song picks have many times borne fruit over the years, but there’s the occasional selection that, even years, later, still resonates.  Annie’s debut album, “Animal,” is one of those selections.

iTunes previewed the album with their selection of lead single “Me Plus One” as their pick of the week, seen in the video above.  The catchy electronica showed Annie’s strong songwriting, catchy music with the appropriate amount of personality. The album is full of high points that continue to be fun to listen to almost eight years later.

“Chewing Gum” takes a clever spin on hatin’, with a song that says you think you’re sweet but you’re really a disgusting piece of trash.  It’s a fun kiss-off song, and an exemplary example of the perfect balance she struck throughout.

The song that was her initial calling card, “Greatest Hit,” was an underground classic for years.  Annie’s lover passed away after its released, putting a long pause on her recording career, but the song continued to bubble around clubs for years, before “Anniemal” finally brought more music to the forefront. I would share it but a sample of Madonna’s “Everybody” has led it to be aggressively taken down on YouTube.

But potentially the strongest track on the album is “Heartbeat,” the perfect type of love song for an artist like Annie.

Additional listening

She released a second album, “Don’t Stop” in 2009, after record label issues led her to part ways with the major label she was on. The track above, “I Know Your Girlfriend Hates Me,” was dropped off the album during the turmoil, which is a shame, because it’s a great cut.

The second album doesn’t hold up to the start-to-finish brilliance that is “Anniemal,” but that’s not to say there isn’t some amazing stuff going on; Annie certainly knows what she’s doing, as the title track above shows. The songs are incredibly current-feeling, even a few years old, and are incredibly tightly produced.

Here’s one more for you: “My Love is Better,” which connects nicely to some of the themes from “Anniemal” and is one of the catchiest tracks on “Don’t Stop.”

She remains active, popping up as a featured artist here and there, so there’s certainly hope for a third album. She’s an artist that deserves a bit more attention.

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