When an artist’s top song on Spotify is a three year-old cover of a-ha‘s infamous (and incredibly awesome) “Take On Me”, it’s a bit of a red-flag that there’s something more than meets the eye. In that cover, 21 year-old Anni B Sweet demonstrated a mastery of counter melody, taking the song’s virtually impossible to reach chorus notes, and flipping it inside out. The video showed the young singer being true to her name, as she lazily strummed a pink v-shaped ukelele and played in a band dressed up as various animals.
That version is a complete reinvention of a classic (don’t even try to deny that it’s not a classic tune), something many artists are weary of doing, particularly in such early stages of their career. Ana López – Anni B Sweet’s real name – showed no such concern and made the song entirely her own, continuing what she had presented on her debut, “Start, Restart, Undo” just a few months prior. Most songs on that album show a very folk-oriented singer-songwriter, that, while enjoyable, wasn’t particularly exciting.
Highlights such as album opener “A Sarcastic Hello”, went a bit further, with some tongue-in-cheek lyrics and even a Beatles lyric sample (“I don’t know why you say “good bye”, I say “hello”). The light percussion and backup vocals add a bit of depth to keep things interesting for the main vocal. As an added plus, López’s English accent is far better than the the average Spaniard (we’re known as a whole to speak close to no English), making the lyrics actually intelligible, something other bands from here can’t exactly claim.
That was so 2009, though, and Anni B Sweet has returned, maturing incredibly in the process. The songs leading up to her second studio album, “Oh, Monsters!”, released just last week here, were a clear indication that has a lot has changed for the young singer.
Lead single “At Home”, for example, begins with solemn keys and heavy percussion backing the singer’s vocals, no longer entirely lighter-than-air; there’s a bit of growl hidden underneath that’s more than welcome. The track brings to mind the sounds of the 60′s a bit, particularly instrumentally.
Where she displays the most growth is on the second single to come from that album, “Getting Older”. Beginning with a hard-hitting blues-rock feel, only to fade into just a piano and Anni B Sweet’s clean vocals, the song’s dynamic changes are clear displays of the singer’s maturity process. The chorus’ echoed vocal effect hints at a bit of psychedelia that’s fully presented after the second chorus in which she growls “we’re getting older” leading back into the bluesy feel found in the beginning that carries the song to its end.
In just a couple of years, Anni B Sweet has been able to take her music up several notches, making her one of the more interesting artists in the Spanish music-scene. Be sure to listen to some highlights below.