Annie, who just might be the world’s biggest pop star who actually isn’t a big pop star, returns with her amusingly conceptual four-track EP Endless Vacation. Based on a superficially ideal summer holiday – sun, sex and sand – Annie focuses on a bitter sweetness that lies behind the late nights and lazy, long days.
Over a soundtrack of what could broadly be called 90s euro-pop, there are hints of melancholic moods and lonely clubs that no one will ever see or suspect when looking at the subsequent Facebook albums or the set of sunny postcards that accompany the release.
Following on from 2013’s excellent A&R EP, Annie again teams up with her partner-in-crime and irrepressible collaborator, the British producer Richard X. Musically, Endless Vacation isn’t as diverse or as assertive as some of the themes covered on A&R and there is a weightlessness here sonically that reinforces a careless and escapist period in a person’s life.
This period for Annie and Richard would appear to be 1993. Both the Italo-disco of Corona’s ‘Rhythm of the Night’ and Whigfield’s novelty dance track ‘Saturday Night’ were first released that year, with both becoming massive hits that, for many, were experienced on European package holidays. You can hear their influence all over Endless Vacation.
‘Cara Mia’ is that first, instant encounter: all encompassing and overwhelming, ‘come and dance with me, there are no others – like you’. Beware, though, cutting through the gossamer light and elegant synths is a sad piano-house riff that hints at rogues at work.
‘Dadaday’ pays homage to Madonna’s dream of San Pedro on the island affair to end them all ‘La Isla Bonita’, and pulls in a Stock Aitken and Waterman-style production that cements the irresistible, nonsense chorus.
RuPaul’s handbag house debut ‘Supermodel (You Better Work)’, which was a released a month prior to 1993 being chimed in, is Annie’s mantra in the skittering and speeding ‘WorkX2’.
The new-age pan pipes of ‘Out of Reach’ mediate a more chilled out, bliss-house mood with Annie’s torment over a more substantial love which, of course, was never meant to be: ‘I’m lying in my bed and I cannot sleep, thinking of the things you said it me, and now baby – you’re out of reach.’
It may be over in the blink of an eye but Annie has again provided a glimpse of her obsession for the perfect pop record and her talent for creating them. Her appeal is that she has a great ear for a melodic hook and no concern to replicate mainstream sonic trends.
The music she makes isn’t ironic – it’s sincere and made with humour but also heart. Endless Vacation is very much about Annie’s time in the sun and how those greyer days can also follow.