Friday, July 10th, 2020

Annie – American Cars

Get into the car, you know it’s time…


Steacy Easton: Bubblegum vocals over Moorderesque production, which remakes Cronenberg’s remake of Ballard’s original with an almost suicidal, cool chic spoken word interlude — who knew we needed such genius. 

Leah Isobel: Annie’s music, even at its most upbeat, has a distant and lightheaded quality; her voice is so breathy and ethereal, so determined not to directly express power or demand the space, that straightforward pop songs instantly become more abstract just by virtue of her singing them. In this light, her new single’s full-on jump into synthwave – a genre she’s flirted with before — was probably inevitable. It’s an abstracted idiom for an abstracted performer, “80s” “pop” with quotes included. The resulting track is rich with symbolism and ideas, and the spoken-word bridge is a brilliant touch — she mutters “break free and then never look back” less like a command and more like an incantation, like she’s plucked the words from a dream. But with nothing concrete to anchor it, “American Cars” ends up feeling a little less than the sum of its parts. Her best work has a sense of playful invention and a dynamic melancholy, but here that gets lost in the drift.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: I understand the slow-moving, moody atmosphere Annie is going for here, but something about the pacing feels off. “American Cars” sounds sluggish and soggy, like a potentially great song buried underneath one of those “slow and reverb” treatments.

Alfred Soto: I’m a sucker for synthesized crawls like “American Cars,” but the crawl requires contact with a worn carpet on which Cheez-It crumbs and cat hair glimmer amid the shampoo. If she’d released it in 2011, the producers of Drive would’ve made her an offer she wouldn’t have refused.

Will Adams: Moody electropop designed for racing empty freeways after dark, i.e. the stuff of my dreams. It wants for release which never comes, but I suspect Annie is keeping the real magic concealed for the album.

Olivia Rafferty: I got 15 seconds into the song before my WiFi cut out. Ate a biscuit, restarted my router, loaded the page, got another 15 seconds before the connection dropped again. Another biscuit, another restart, load, 15 seconds, cut. On the sixth intro listen, I had a really good handle of those first few seconds. Unfortunately the full track, once it had loaded (a fair few biscuits later), had little else to add. Annie’s glassy vocals floated over the neo-eighties synth, speaking of losing control, letting go of the wheel… but we never got out of the parking lot.

Scott Mildenhall: For a moment, this seems in danger of being one-note, but without ever announcing itself, it blossoms like a crepe paper flower and enters a world of its own, one in which Annie couldn’t be more at home. Stefan Storm’s influence is palpable, not least when his breathy “cars” arrives to underscore it, but so is his appreciation of Annie’s strengths. It’s an ideal collaboration.

Reader average: [9] (2 votes)

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3 Responses to “Annie – American Cars”

  1. Wayne is otm here, and I hope Annie releases one of those remix EP’s so maybe this can be salvaged. Also, you should cover Javiera Mena’s latest single, it’s one of her best.

  2. I agree that this is lacking a bit of a release given how much we like her more uptempo material but I found it breathtaking anyway. Her dewy performance is perfect for the theme, nailing the sad, sordid but strangely endearing vibe of Crash, right up until the sirens come in, signaling the disaster.

  3. missed blurbing this, would be at least an 8

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