Annie — Me Plus One
Last year, it seemed that 2005 was going to be Annie's year. Not only did she have a sizeable following from the music blog set, she also came out very well in the Pitchfork / Stylus singles of the year polls. She looked unstoppable. As it turned out, though, 2005 was somewhat of a disappointment. Anniemal's
release kept on being put back and back (I think it actually made it to the shops in early 2005, only to be recalled shortly afterwards), her singles bounced around the lower reaches of the Top 40, and soon after the relative flop of her album, the Internet backlash inevitably began (led, in part, by Pitchfork! My how fickle indiekids can be, eh, readers? "Bah! You're not popular now! I hate you - Annie is the Veronica Mars of pop, perhaps).
Which is a shame, as Anniemal
is packed full of songs like Me Plus One
; funny, bouncy, and full of vim. We need more songs with vim! Two other things: it's probably one of the last songs that will invoke the cultural memory of Top of The Pops (and she's not even British! Stupid BBC), and it's a thinly-veiled attack on one Geri Space, by producer/writer/torturer of small kittens with curling irons Richard X.
You can find Anniemal
sitting lonely and coy in most branches of HMV. And other fine retailers. Although not Lush, because that would be silly.
M.I.A. — Sunshowers
M.I.A. suffered from a similar problem, as by the time Arular
finally made it out on both sides of the Atlantic, the backlash was in full swing (this time led by Simon Reynolds, who resented her art-school background and the appropriation of grime. None of which stopped him from praising Ari Up in Rip It Up And Start Again
, but I guess music critics get reactionary as they get older). M.I.A. had controversy, being the daughter of a Tamil Tiger leader, and as a result got acres of coverage in the music press. All for nought; Arular
tanked, her singles struggled to reach the Top 50, and even a Mercury Prize nomination couldn't help. A pity, really, because Sunshowers
is the best dance track about a suicide bomber in 2005. Yes, yes, it was probably the only one, but dammit, that's not the point.
Rachel Stevens — I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)
If Annie showed that the blog scene isn't strong enough yet to break acts, and M.I.A.'s fate revealed that the mainstream music press wasn't all that useful either, then Rachel Stevens's woeful year just goes to show that nobody has a clue. At all. Universally acclaimed by the Internet, the mainstream press, and buttressed by a plethora of TV appearances, Come And Get It
should have been one of the pop successes of the year. It wasn't. And it's still unclear as to why; was it the release of the earlier weaker singles as opposed to this fantastic Mud-inspired (and written!) track? Her walkout on Dick & Dom (you would have thought her publicist might
have mentioned the gunge)? Or just that today's pop kids couldn't bring up any enthusiasm for her? It's a mystery. (Perhaps Toyah could help)
31/12/2005 EDIT NEWS! Rachel Stevens has supposedly been dropped from Polydor.
Robyn — Be Mine!
Aha! Wrong-footing you! This can't be a flop, because it's not even officially out yet! Hah! Mind you, Robyn (from Sweden) is already tipped to be 2006's Annie (from Norway). Essentially, this is Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time
played at double-speed on a cello. But hey! It's really sad, complete with pouring rain! He gave her scarf away! That cad! That bounder!