Speak Your Mind is the debut album from the chart-topping (and also hyphenated) singer, Anne-Marie. It follows a plethora of hits such as her collaboration with Clean Bandit, which helped propel her into the mainstream conscious. In a very crowded pop landscape, Anne-Marie is able to stick to her guns and not be ashamed of her radio-friendly appeal.
Opening track Cry is a self-assured statement of intent, with Anne-Marie enjoying the mistakes a past lover has made in leaving her for someone else. The swearing and light snarl in vocal delivery are genuine in their sentiment, but fail to fully stand out as the most cutting comments ever heard on a pop song. Alarm remains one of Anne-Marie’s biggest singles to date, and its presence so early on in the record isn’t the ace card cropping up prematurely. But for a song about alarms, the rise in the chorus doesn’t take the track as big as it could be – instead falling just short of the glass ceiling.
The Marshmallo featuring FRIENDS is the moment where lyrics & stories begin to strike too similar a chord. The progressions merging into one another, making it difficult to distinguish whether the tracks are different enough to catch the right kind of attention. For a song called Can I Get Your Number, there’s enough initial shyness to convey that initial fear of rejection. But then it flows into a track infused with the Balearic sound that was flogged to death only a few short years ago. Thankfully, this veers on the right side of cute and doesn’t recycle too many old lyrical tropes to become tiresome.
The deluxe edition closes with Rockabye, whose name you might not know – but you definitely do know. As a trio, Anne-Marie, Clean Bandit and Sean Paul are the perfect pop formula – there’s one of the catchiest melodies of the year, simple yet embedded lyrics and a guest slot from a man who no one ever really knows what he’s saying. It is certainly the highlight in Anne-Marie’s collection, highlighting how diverse her voice can sound from one second to the next.
Speak Your Mind may not set the world alight like other pop albums have seemingly been doing over the last year and a half – but it is a very confident first attempt from an artist who is still trying to figure out where they fit in. It’s clear Anne-Marie’s voice is the star of the show, hitting every note and valuing every obstacle set in its path, but the songs themselves needs a little more excitement for her to really shine.