[34] Annie, ‘Heartbeat’

Heartbeat, or Anniemal really

So who’s to blame for Annie’s peculiar lack of chart success?  Is it her? Is it us, the diehard pop fans who only bought one copy of each record? Or is it a shady cabal of music industry insiders, a manipulative coven with a vested interest in undermining Scandinavian pop; perhaps executives who were once hungry A&R people who saw their Number 1 dreams for their acts come to naught at the dread hand of ABBA in the 70s? It looks pretty clear from here.

Because how can pop music this flimsy, this breathy, this shaky on its pins not win the hearts of a nation? It’s better than ‘Fight For This Love’.

Junior says: “I’ve heard this before,” which puts her a step ahead of 60-odd million people in this country. “It sounds like robots.” And just to prove she’s down with Annie, she quietly joins in with the chorus.

Best bit: The first airing for that pumping Motown beat. It sounds like Annie’s heart bashing its way out of her ribcage.

[5] Annie, ‘Heartbeat’

Annie from Norway was the first artist Junior saw live. The second was Saint Etienne, about half an hour later. Junior was minus three weeks old at the time but, with poetic licence, I can imagine that she was watching through her mum’s bellybutton. I’ve never asked her what she thought of Annie. I thought she was rubbish. You could barely hear the vocals and she spent her whole set standing at the back of the stage with the bloke who was making all the music come out of his computer.

On record Annie makes sense. Her voice is still wafer-thin but every song is an icy pop gem, with all those keyboard pulses, strokes and effects and crisp percussion, and that Scandinavian ear for a hook. She sounds flimsy in the old Camden Palais; in the living room she shimmers like the Christmas tree.

The fifth best single of the year, ‘Heartbeat’ sees Junior flying around the room, laughing, dribbling in her dad’s eye. No, I’m not crying at Annie’s tender memories of a fleeting love. I’ve got dribble in my eye.