Earlier this month, Norwegian singer-songwriter Annie released another EP, "Neon Lights." And "Neon Lights" sounds every bit like its name would indicate. It's upbeat, it's poppy, it's danceable, and it's powerful. It's a great next step following her critically acclaimed album "Dark Hearts," released in 2020, for which she won a Norwegian Grammy Award and Fans' Favorite Pop Music (a crowdsourced honor) from Billboard Magazine.
But "Neon Lights" is definitely the alter ego of "Dark Hearts," which is as evident as the contrary nature of the albums' names. If "Dark Hearts" was a season of "Twin Peaks," this feels a little like its "Baywatch" counterpart. The EP features a guest collab with Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters' fame (who has embarked on a solo career since) as well as covers a la The Jesus and Mary Chain … and Patrick Swayze ("She's Like the Wind.")
Far and away though, the standout track for me personally is "April," produced by classic Annie collaborator Richard X. It's similar to her past work, but it's one of the strongest songs in her entire 20+ year career. The bittersweet longing, the nostalgic quality, the recognition of innocence lost, and the slick production all make this an irresistible track. It's, in short, fantastic.
"Neon Lights" is an all-too-ephemeral EP, which demands that you give it a listen that much more. As we slip into autumn, play it and think of the summer we just lost - or maybe some better, more youthful summers from the past.