Music Review: 'Bittersweet' by Anne-Simone

Artist: Anne-Simone
Style: Pop, Indie Pop, Electro Pop
Release Date: Jan. 11, 2014
Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis

The music guy sent us some PR-info on Anne-Simone, whose CD, called Bittersweet, and was released on January 11, 2014. According to the specs, she hails from Seattle by way of Vancouver, Canada. Her instrument is the keyboard; her compositions are described as "a futuristic breed of electro pop and indie with a resilient, uplifting feel."

Ms. Anne-Simone summarizes herself in the following manner:

"I am a citizen of the world. I tread gently on this earth. My glass is always half full. I celebrate differences. I believe music soothes the soul. I aspire to be the change I want to see."

In other words, she is politically correct and the walking-talking-personification of every cute bumper sticker you've ever read. Some of the stuff music-PR people put out is amusing. Basically, what it boils down to is that there's nothing here the least little bit controversial or unlikable.

Luckily for Anne-Simone, no one cares about the fluff dispensed by the suits. What listeners care about is the music. Fortunately, Anne-Simone delivers the goods. The best way to describe her sound is this: early Taylor Swift doing funkadelic pulse. It's not a forceful, gospel-driven voice. It's more bubble-gum pop and diet pills. The melodies are simple, the beat is '70s disco fast-forwarded into the 21st century.

There are six songs on Bittersweet. All six songs explore one facet or another of love: unrequited love, love's pain, emotional vulnerability and punch-drunk love. Since fully 80 percent of all songs are about love, Anne-Simone's exploration of the topic is to be expected. Frankly, most of the love-infested songs are sappy and cloying, especially if you listen carefully to the lyrics. What sets it apart is the music. Ms. Anne-Simone's electro-pop music isn't the standard banal, electrified, digitized fare of today's electro-pop offerings, which usually resemble strawberry Pop-Tarts on steroids. Bittersweet's compositions are somehow dramatic. This drama is delivered via the predictable digital signature of the electro-pop genre. Only Ms. Anne-Simone transforms the ordinary, familiar melodies into something extraordinary by means of pacing blips, accentuations and tonal inflections.

The track listing goes as follows:
1. Digitize Me. A peppy, little song about the power of love.
2. Gone So Long. A sad song about unrequited love.
3. Let The Heart. A song about the self-centeredness of love.
4. Bittersweet. A song about the impact of lost love.
5. Unsaid. A song about love's inability to verbalize.
6. Fire Rainbow. A song about the vulnerability of love.

The narratives of the songs evoke Biblical references, such as Solomon's famous adage: "There's nothing new under the sun." That is to say that Ms. Anne-Simone doesn't expose any new, insightful information about love and its attendant pain. It's the same old stuff. But as stated before, it's not the lyrics that set Ms. Anne-Simone apart. It's her music.

So if you're into electro-pop, Bittersweet deserves your attention.

(Published by huffingtonpost.com; used by permission)