Bubbly dance pop with shy smiles and lusty looks.
Quiet, not deep, is Annie's strength. Though the bratty brilliance of lead single "Chewing Gum" is undeniable, it's "Heartbeat," the album's sleeper, that plays to her assets. Uniquely feminine in its cashmere softness and in-the-moment melancholia, "Heartbeat" layers coo-ing woes over a building, pulsing synth bass and a startlingly live drum track. She gets champagne-dizzy on "Me Plus One," a Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam style bit of roller funk, and on the equally handclap-heavy disco homage "Greatest Hit." If all Annie's breathy innocence threatens to wash out the day with brightness, there's "Always Too Late," which pits percussion, plucks and ghost squelches in a moment of rubber-bass trip-hop so sultry you'll wish for evening to fall. These little dark patches make the blue skies of Anniemal all the more palatable, and give you all the more reason to look up into pop's often empty expanse.