Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Anne-Marie – 2002

I had to read this headline so now you do too: Anne-Marie Forced To Leak New Song After Ed Sheeran Trolls Her Online

Will Adams: In which Anne-Marie takes a trip down memory lane so detached from reality it becomes hilarious. Let’s reminisce: 1) Not a single song referenced in the chorus (in order: “Oops! I Did It Again”; “99 Problems”; “Bye Bye Bye”; “The Next Episode”; “Ride Wit Me”; “Baby One More Time”) is actually from 2002, and in one case didn’t even exist until late ’03. 2) It’s clear Julia Michaels did the verses; it’s her usual soft-spoken, diary mode, except with red pen striking out anything too personal, lest a listener not be able to relate. 3) It’s clear Ed Sheeran did the chorus, not just because of the un-clever song title mashup but the sound, which festers in the same boy band bilge of “Galway Girl” and “Trust Fund Baby.” 4) It’s also clear because of “singing at the top of both our lungs.” Medical mystery, that. 5) The only true thing in this song is that Anne-Marie really was 11 years old in 2002. Which makes the imagery of drinking from Solo cups and dancing on the hood of a car in the middle of the woods at best ridiculous and at worst creepy. 6) Similarly icky is the abrupt time jump from the first to second verse: kissing at 11, between sheets at 18. The older I get, the more I’m weirded out when adults gush over pictures of young children holding hands or kissing or dressed up as bride and groom. Isn’t it adorable how early we were conditioned to accept societal norms without question? 7) Hard to believe, but it is possible to write cutesy songs about childhood friendships that don’t sexualize them. And now we’re back in the present, and we have one of the most flagrant examples of how awful pop music can be when its primary goal is relatability instead of evoking a genuine human emotion.

Alfred Soto: Because when all else fails, combine “No Scrubs” and “Ride Wit Me.”

Iain Mew: Pop-culture-referencing British nostalgia songs — they don’t make them like they used to! Well, they pretty much do, but at least Eliza Doolittle’s had the good sense not to show itself up by tying its flailing scattershot to a specific year.

William John: So much of nostalgia is fantasy; we have a tendency to remodel and gentrify fragments of memory such that the narrative neatly suits our own purposes. My question is this: if Anne-Marie’s intention was to reconstruct the past idealistically into something new and beautiful, then why do it in a manner so obviously spurious? It seems quite implausible that an eleven year old girl from Essex was dancing in the woods on top of a Mustang in 2002, much less to a song that wasn’t released until at least a year later. This hollow, phony writing completely shatters any semblance of sentimentalism, and makes engagement with what is happening melodically virtually impossible. Kevin McCloud, the foremost authority on grandly designed restoration projects, would be apoplectic.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The equivalent of those YouTube comments where someone writes a sentence that includes song titles from the video’s respective artist. That seems like a very 11 year old thing to do, so “2002” definitely has that going for it. I also appreciate how none of the songs referenced are from the titular year, one of which wasn’t even released until 2003. Our memories are fuzzy, but their emotional weight (especially when tied to young love) makes the details unimportant. Anne-Marie gets that, and it’s why the song’s lame gimmick is easy to stomach: the point isn’t to exclaim, “ha! I understand the references!” but to resonate with the general nostalgic sentiment. Those tinnitus-causing “woo-HOO” screams? Absolutely insufferable. But that’s what pre-teen romance sounds like to anyone who’s survived their teens. In other words, this is the pubescent version of Julia Michaels’s “Uh Huh.”

Hannah Jocelyn: No one’s operating at the peak of their powers here, but every writer is operating at peak themselves. even before looking at the credits, I could tell Ed Sheeran wrote this. “Both of our lungs” instead of “our lungs” is the exact kind of deliberate clumsiness I associate with Sheeran, and the calvacade of references is another Sheeranism (minus Van Morrison) but songwriterly enough to be Julia Michaels’s doing. Maybe because there are so many writing personalities in one room, but the song stretches itself; I’m not sure why we needed “7 Years”-esque fast forwards, and the chorus’s reliance on other songs’ rhythms is fun but exhausting. Yet as distracting as every gimmick in this song is, Anne-Marie manages to sell it and singlehandedly make it catchy when neither Steve Mac nor Benny Blanco seem all that interested in punching up their production. It’s at least enough to make me look forward to the 2034 version; “She said do you love me/I told her to meet me/in the middle/if she wanted to.”

Katherine St Asaph: It starts with strums; everything’s so low-key, and everyone’s so chill, and everybody’s empty, soaking up the sun of the specific year 2002. Uh huh. What’s 2002 got to do, got to do with this? The Black Album didn’t come out until 2003, so there’s no such thing as the world where anyone rapped “99 Problems” on a Mustang in 2002 alongside damn Britney Spears, but memories can take you whenever, wherever! If you’re touched by the words in a song — any song, any year — throw it in; worrying about anachronisms just makes things so complicated. Ain’t it funny — ghoulish, really — how all these nostalgia-bait pop songs, which would feel so empty without other stars’ pre-established, hella good identities, are given to singers who haven’t yet developed their own? In actual 2002 women could get the party started, or rock you, or at least make it hot in here; now they’re a thousand miles away from material with personality. It’s quite the dilemma for new artists, who in the rapid churn of the 2018 pop game can’t wait a lifetime to find somebody to care; guess that’s just their sacrifice. If I could, then I would change this state of affairs, this artist development standstill. But hey, Anne-Marie, don’t write yourself off yet; she lost “The Middle” due to EDM bro foolishness wasting her time, and while she doesn’t quite give it her all here, I’m sure she’s, uh, always on time. Let’s direct the hateration to the real culprit. Ed Sheeran wrote part of this, I’d guess the chorus if I had to call. (Julia Michaels also wrote something, but whatever her contribution was, it doesn’t rock the boat.) He needs a girl, because his memories in song are “Castle on the Hill” hometown-hero hero-y heroics, casting himself as some sort of Shire Superman; his songs for others are where the frivolity gets in. This is how Ed reminds you of who he really is.

Alex Clifton: I never daydreamed about fist-fighting Ed Sheeran until I heard the chorus of this song, but now it’s a recurring fantasy. Come find me, Ed.

Reader average: [0.28] (7 votes)

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18 Responses to “Anne-Marie – 2002”

  1. Katherine GOAT


  3. credit where due http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=4164

  4. prayer hands

  5. Katherine wins.

  6. Also don’t forget the mouseovers!

  7. Katherine I’m crying oh my god, also spectacular work here everyone

  8. katherine SO wins and also totally agreed on which 2002 hero is better

  9. I can’t believe there is someone who didn’t think about fistfighting Ed Sheeran until just now.

  10. Good job Katherine, even though quite a few of the songs you mentioned, I so heavily associate with the fall of 2001, rather than 2002 itself, but that’s mostly due to having very clear memories of that time period, for somewhat obvious reasons. Pedantry aside, still better than this excuse for a song.

  11. yeah the billboard year-end chart does that with fall/winter tracks pretty often

    still closer to 2002 than ed sheeran

  12. more like two thousand and late am i right

  13. (Yes you am)

  14. does this song imply that an eleven year old drove a car

  15. I’d bumped this up from a [0] upon the admission that it wasn’t as bad as “Trust Fund Baby” but having watched the music video I would probably put it back to a [0]

  16. Amazing blurbs. Honourable mentions go to Will for breaking down the true asinine evil of “2002” and for Alex who made my boyfriend spit his tea everywhere.

  17. wish that you would have blurbed this, eleanor, if only for that zinger

  18. riyl Will’s blurb: Mo’s phenomenal GNASH!!! blurb from two years ago http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=21436