dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Despite Its Title, Songs Of Mass Destruction Is Annie Lennox's Most Upbeat Album In 15 Years

Lo and behold -- a promo for Annie Lennox's Songs Of Mass Destruction arrived in the mail yesterday, and sounds like she's gone happy again!

Fear not, ye fans d'Annie (Fannies?), who were expecting another Bare! For despite the deceitful album title and mood of the first single, "Dark Road," (video below), this is probably the most upbeat the former/now-sometimes Eurythmics singer has been since 1992's Diva. Maybe we should chalk it up to her working with producer Glen Ballard, instead of longtime knob-twiddler Stephen Lipson.



First off, what everyone is likely curious about is "Sing," which Annie wrote after working with Nelson Mandela's 46664 and Treatment Action Campaign (which benefits human rights, education and health care for those affected by the HIV AIDS virus). It features 23 additional female vocalists, including Madonna, Sarah McLachlan, Céline Dion, Sugababes, Fergie, Faith Hill, Pink, Dido, Gladys Knight, kd lang, Angelique Kidjo, Bonnie Raitt, Shakira, Melissa Etheridge, Anastasia, Joss Stone, KT Tunstall, Beth Gibbons, Beverly Knight and Martha Wainwright.

Now, don't get all excited, because other than one of those broads trilling in a high soprano with Lennox in the first verse (which, admittedly, I can't for the life of me figure out who it is -- perhaps just Annie herself) and Madonna doing the second verse, everyone else is put on chorus duties. The last half of the song features several of them individually gettin' all soulful, shouting out things like "Si-iii-iiing!" and "Sing my si-iisters!" I think I was able to hear Pink in that part somewhere -- then again, it may have been a mosquito flying by.


Basically, the great thing about Songs Of Mass Destruction is that most of the tracks are upbeat and contain the big, melodic, multi-layered choruses we're used to from the days of Lennox past. "Ghosts In My Machine" -- a rowdy, rockin' stomper where Annie kicks her vocal heels up and goes at the lyrics with a powerful stampede -- is the best example, and it's probably the most pop song on here. "Coloured Bedspread," with its menacing, repetitious electro synths, feels like it could be off classic Eurythmics' albums like Touch, Sweet Dreams and Savage.

"Lost" is the one tune that sounds like the sad Annie of 2003's Bare. But overall, even slower songs like "Big Sky" and "Through The Glass Darkly" start out pensive then open up into rockin', soaring accord.

Working with Glen Ballard has definitely been good for Annie Lennox. From the sound of things, he brought some fresh ideas to the table for an iconic singer who's been at it for 25 years.

As evidenced by his most famous work -- Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill (Where was she on "Sing"?) -- Ballard understands that variety a good pop album makes. And like Diva, her very first solo album, Songs Of Mass Destruction is a picnic basket with something for everyone inside.

Songs Of Mass Destruction is released October 2.

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10 Comments:

  • At 11:20 AM, Blogger Robpop said…

    AMAZING!!!!!!!!

     
  • At 11:45 AM, Blogger Dan said…

    This is great news! I am even more excited about the album than I was before.

     
  • At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great songs, great aritst, great video.

    Check out the new Annie Lennox page launched this week:

    http://www.Songs-Of-Mass-Destruction.com

     
  • At 4:56 PM, Blogger Joshua said…

    I love Dark Road! AND I AM SO JEALOUS that you have the CD already. I have been an under-carpet (as opposed to a full out lesbian carpet fan, I guess?) Annie fan since the early 90s.

    And who else had the clout to get all those divas and baby princesses together and sing... the chorus?!!??

     
  • At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This album is going to be something special, that's for sure. Check out my Annie/Eurythmics fan site at:

    http://www.eurythmicsvideovisionaries.com

     
  • At 6:48 PM, Anonymous no more I love yous blew said…

    The only Annie I care about, bitches, is chewing bubble gum and thrusting her 13-CGI-doppelganger asses to a chirping electronic beat.

    Fuck this bizarro elf-woman.

     
  • At 10:42 AM, Blogger Poster Girl said…

    Literal LOL at the above comment.

    Diva was one of the first albums I ever owned and, though I've never followed anything Annie's done since then, this sounds intriguing.

     
  • At 10:00 PM, Blogger xolondon said…

    Poster Girl, get thee Medusa NOW! It's worth every penny.

    As for "SOMD" I am trusting you Dluvvy.

     
  • At 7:52 AM, Anonymous stewart lennox said…

    i am her(and eurythmics) number one fan so this is going to be biased but i really think Annie will blow her contemporaries out of the water with this album...could even be a double brit win again for her and quite rightly so!

     
  • At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Has it been a dark road that has carried Annie Lennox all the way from the new wave pop of the 80s Eurythmics to a stellar solo career? Well there may have been some somber moments and dark corners but Songs of Mass Destruction (SOMD) in spite of its somewhat depressing and prophetic title, offers a lot of variety, the whole encapsulated in Lennox’s beautiful, soaring voice. Many commentators rightly state that this is the best instrument in the piece.

    SOMD opens with the single, Dark Road, which amply demonstrates Annie’s range. It is dark but at the same time rich in tonal quality and provides the listener with an indication of the quality still to come. If you love Annie’s voice, you will love Dark Road and Through the glass darkly.

    Next comes Love is Blind a joyous piece of pop that Annie belts out and which also includes a very enjoyable rap.

    Then, getting a little deeper into the tangled and powerful emotions that surround a breakup comes the slow burner “Smithereens.” At first it seems like a less interesting track but then begins to grow on the listener with repeated listens. It is now a favourite.

    Ghosts in my machine kicks the tempo back up again and has an infectious chorus that the listener wants to sing along to, addresses imperfect humanity, which is a general theme of the album overall and leads to Womankind which flies the feminist banner high, again offers a slice of rap and is something that you will want to or can’t help singing along to, whether man or woman!

    Through the glass darkly is a soaring ballad that underlines the pain of emotional despair and fully showcases Annie’s wonderful voice. Many have said that the album is worth its price for this track alone. Lost is also powerfully sung and has become one of my favourites on the disc. I love the layered vocals and the high notes that Annie reaches.

    Sing is OK and is similar to a chant with African accents and an announcement at its start that the song has been created to support a charity trying to prevent Mother-Child transmission of AIDS/HIV, a worthwhile cause to support. Annie’s voice outshines and outpowers the chorus of “equals.”

    Big Sky is a big interesting ballad and Fingernail Moon rounds the set off in a reflective frame of mind having a very relaxing feel to it and adventuresome lyrics.

    Annie has done a good job in SOMD and I am looking forward to her next.

     

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