Ever since featuring on Clean Bandit’s double platinum selling single ‘Rocakbye’ at the end of 2016, Anne-Marie’s pop rise has been nothing short of stratospheric. The former world karate champion’s debut album, Speak Your Mind, is a phenomenal effort that marks the birth of a true pop heavyweight.
Having made a name for herself featuring on tracks for the likes of Gorgon City and Rudimental, Anne-Marie’s solo career is one that has been bubbling at the surface and is now about to take-off. Speak Your Mind has been a long time coming with numbers such as ‘Breathing Fire’ and ‘Used To Love You’ no secrets for fans, being played live since 2016. Those are both pop tracks exceedingly capable of being lead singles, the former actually dropped in favour of the instantly catchy ‘Ciao Adios’ in early 2017.[pullquote]It’s an achievement that few popstars, even the very biggest, can manage...[/pullquote]
When it comes to singles, Anne-Marie has not stopped delivering. All of ‘Alarm’, ‘Heavy’, ‘Then’ and ‘Friends’ with Marhsmello have enjoyed deserved commercial success, the latter recently spending time at Worldwide Number 1 on iTunes.
However, when listening to Speak Your Mind what is so remarkable is that there is so much more than just these hits. Each track deserves to have made the album, not one failing to hit the heights of previous releases. It’s an achievement that few popstars, even the very biggest, can manage and it’s a raising of the bar that other artists will struggle to hit in 2018.
Opening track ‘Cry’ kicks off with “I’ve always been a winner” and packs an immediate punch as it drops into a triumphant chorus. It’s delivered with a trademark smirk and giggle that has endeared Anne-Marie so much to fans. On the artist’s rise to stardom, she has embraced her ability to be a role-model and, as the album may suggest, to speak her mind. Her social media accounts are always down to earth, highlighted by last year’s trending #ConfidentForAnneMarie which saw the star encourage fans to love their bodies. ‘Perfect’, one of two tracks co-written by friend and touring-partner Ed Sheeran, is a heartfelt ode to self-love which will find a special place in listeners’ hearts. Elsehwere, the tropically-tinged ‘Trigger’ is a euphoric breath of fresh air whilst the teasing ‘Bad Girlfriend’ is a whole lot of fun.
Of all the new material, it’s hard to pick a standout. However, ‘2002’, the second Sheeran co-penned track, features lyrics from hits by the likes of Britney Spears and Jay-Z and is an insanely clever pop flick, perhaps even better than anything on Sheeran’s ÷. The simple, yet super smart, lyrics and breezy sound encapsulate everything that Anne-Marie does best in what is a track that you will be hearing all summer long.
It’s hard to believe that Speak Your Mind can be an artist’s first attempt at a full record. The album looks set to be not only the pop debut album of 2018, but THE best in the genre too. Anne-Marie hasn’t placed a foot wrong and if you want to hear the very best pop music of 2018, this is an exemplary effort.
Score - 5/5