Speak Your Mind (Deluxe)
In the years leading up to Anne-Marie’s 2018 debut Speak Your Mind, the Essex-born singer-songwriter was everywhere. Her vocals had been featured multiple times on Rudimental’s 2015 hit album We the Generation and she’d been prominently featured on Clean Bandit’s inescapable 2016 smash “Rockabye.” So by the time Speak Your Mind arrived, the Anne-Marie hype was palpable. A marriage of pop songwriting and EDM, Speak Your Mind brings together thumping, bouncy beats that capture the chart zeitgeist of the time—think thick swathes of synths with occasional flecks of steel pans—with frank lyrics about the realities of young British womanhood. There are heady, flirty summer jams for sticky dance floors on Speak Your Mind, but also softer moments of candor. With co-writing credits from heavyweights such as Ed Sheeran, MNEK, and Jennifer Decilveo, Speak Your Mind allows Anne-Marie’s raspy but sweet voice to shine. It’s an album that finds her having fun on tracks like the hilariously brutal “FRIENDS”—in which she brushes off a mate by declaring,“You’re not my lover, more like a brother/I known you since we were like 10”—as well as “2002,” in which she reflects on falling in love for the first time and playfully references some of the biggest hits of the early 2000s. But Speak Your Mind also finds Anne-Marie going deep at times: “Machine” is an affecting contemplation on her desire to numb herself and “Perfect” finds her contemplating self-love and trying to learn to accept her own flaws. On her debut, Anne-Marie portrays herself as someone who doesn’t take herself too seriously and doesn’t need everything to sound perfect—traits that have become hallmarks of her career. Speak Your Mind pushed her from being a featured vocalist on other people’s hits to an artist in her own right—one who’s capable of serving up forceful but thoughtful anthems made for summer nights.