Annie — “Chewing Gum”

Released: 8.30.04

Peak: Did not chart

Adorno told you so. Shoehorn the aesthetic within the strictures of mass production and you ensure the commodification of human desire, with human beings represented as the lowest mass product as all. OK, maybe that’s not what Adorno told us exactly. Also, why does Word refuse to accept “commodification” as a word? What exactly is Bill Gates trying to prevent us from writing about with that tell-tale red underscore?

In any case, commodification is a better fate than the yobs that Annie chews up and spits out here deserve. And so is Annie. Not only aren’t these guys chocolate–they aren’t even bubblegum, with its honorable pop pedigree. What can be lower than chewing gum, a rubbery goo, the stuff of wisecracking sitcom secretaries and the underside of middle school desks? Maybe they’re just something to keep a girl’s jaw busy–though if that’s intended as a double entendre, it’s sure an awkward one. We all know that girl singers are supposed to be the disposable commodities in pop–Annie flips that cliché on its empty little head.

Anne Lilia Berge Strand had been bouncing around since 1999, when “The Greatest Hit” became what I repeatedly see described as an “underground club hit.” Richard X (him again), along with writing partner Hannah Robinson, designed faux Tom Tom Club for this Norwegian cutie, which is better than Tina and Chris managed most of the time. Maybe it’s just electropop for indie kids, but they’re not always wrong, and Annie broadened their perspective. Her voice may sound tiny up against Beyonce, but not compared to Kylie. Her slim unfabulousness is charming, and never more so than when she pretends to be a girl chorus interrogating herself.

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