Things have gotten pretty crowded in the electro-pop demi-monde since Annie released her indie-hit debut, Anniemal, back in 2004. Think of Little Boots, La Roux, and Florence & the Machine, all of whom make Pitchfork readers feel better about denying themselves the pleasures of Lady Gaga.
In apparent acknowledgment of that population boom, this Norwegian singer’s sophomore disc was scheduled to come out last year; label drama and creative indecision delayed its release till now. So how does Annie stack up against her new peers? Well, to paraphrase the woman in whose footsteps they all follow, she certainly sounds a lot less shiny and new than she did in early gems like “Chewing Gum” and “Heartbeat.”
But novelty is only part of what makes pop work, and on Don’t Stop, Annie brings enough of the other stuff — hooks, grooves, and a combination of sass and sincerity — to make you forgive her tardiness. “My Love Is Better,” in particular, deserves placement on any Best of ’09 playlist. With a sweet fuzz-guitar riff from Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, it’s a little slice of hipster-bait heaven.