Welcome to The Singles Bar, a review series focused on new single and song releases.
A sticky, irresistible energy hangs in the air ⎯⎯ trapped between each sparkling ripple of house synths and Anne-Marie‘s ghostly vocal mix. “Heavy,” the third sampling of her forthcoming, yet-untitled debut album, has already collected one million Spotify streams in three days: her destiny is greatness and she more than lives up to the hype. Following 2015’s criminally-underappreciated Karate EP, a pair of freshly-minted singles (“Alarm” and “Ciao Adios”) and contributions to Clean Bandit’s “Rockabye” and Snakehips’ “Either Way,” the stars are aligning. “Heavy” appears to be the vital viral hit the singer desperately needs to thrust her centerstage, the limelight casting a dazzling shadow across her visage.
“When did we get so lost inside ourselves? / We used to be strong, now it’s like we don’t care / Instead we’re calling out for help / Don’t know where we went wrong, but it’s so hard to share,” Anne-Marie determines of a relationship gone utterly sour to the taste and touch, sending chills across her skin. She hooks you in with the pointed, incisive songwriting, and you stay for the enslaving chorus, bound with the stunningly-reeling pre-chorus: “All this weight left on our shoulders / Too much for the both of us.” Then, the meat of the song pierces your eardrums. “When did it get so heavy? / This love that’s in between us / It never used to feel this / Feels so heavy (heavy) / Can’t get up off the ground (up off the ground) / It’s weighing us down.”
While charmingly of-the-moment in stylistic oomph, Anne-Marie keeps the groove unchained to convention. “When did we get so bad at being honest? / You got things on your mind, that you don’t wanna say,” she seemingly weeps underneath the silky sheet of sound. “Thought that we had made a promise / That we would never get this way.” The play of hefty lyricism against infectious beats releases a burning potency. It’s fun but carries enough bite into which to chew.
Anne-Marie’s debut album is tentatively expected later this fall.
Grade: 3.5 out of 5
Photo credit: Damon Baker