Announced in May, Anne-Marie’s second studio album, Therapy, is the official follow-up to her multi-platinum and four million-selling 2018 debut, Speak Your Mind: the UK’s biggest-selling debut release of that year.
The opening track shows us the scope of production and candour that will be built upon in following songs; ‘x2′ talks of consequence and losing control, in an easy listen that exhibits early hints of the songstress’ vocal talent.
‘Don’t Play’ has been on summer playlists for weeks now, but is welcomed as a stellar track on Therapy. Collaborating with KSI and Digital Farm Animals, Anne-Marie continues seamlessly weaving in the album’s purpose of articulating vulnerable emotions, in the most universally-enjoyable mode. An open diary of lyrics combines with outstanding production to result in a stand-out summer anthem, ready to soundtrack festivals and garden parties alike.
‘Our Song’ has been similarly confidently topping charts, and places in a clever point in the tracklist. We also see Anne-Marie collaborating with Little Mix in ‘Kiss My (Uh Oh)’, and with Rudimental in ‘Unloveable’. The former provides for us a therapeutic break up anthem, radiating female empowerment in lyrics that talk only of moving forward. In the latter track, themes of insecurity and loneliness come to the forefront, hidden in an electronic release that makes such vulnerable themes upbeat rather than melancholic.
‘Way Too Long’ draws on the collaborative talents of Nathan Dawe and MoStack, in perhaps the most summer-ready track of them all. The three artists blend together seamlessly, with such different tones melding together in faultless harmony. Perhaps the most successful collaboration, it is a track you cannot listen to just once; it demands to be reverberated through garden speakers time after time; party after party.
Talking of the album, the Essex-born artist states, “As well as seeking therapy from writing and music in general, I’ve also been on a journey of seeing a psychiatrist this past year and it has changed my life. I’ve always tried to be as open as I can with my fans about my own journey and through seeing a professional, I’ve been able to start combatting and understand the anxieties my brain has dealt me over the years. I am learning, and I am progressing.”
“This album helped me get to that place too and it encapsulates lots of feelings and emotions, whether it’s tracks that focus on my own ride, or the ones that I have just loved making, and I hope you can lose yourself in it.”
We see this journey most starkly in the artist’s solo tracks. ‘Who I Am’ sees Ann-Marie realise her self worth in only the fourth track of the list, proving the album is set to be one of empowerment and strength. ‘Beautiful’, one of the most listened to tracks thus far, follows similar themes, lyrically exploring the all-too-familiar journey of assessing one’s insecurities, wondering if they withhold beauty. Interestingly, this track moves from personal pronouns to the collective ‘we’, drawing in the artists fans to share in her vulnerability: a masterful piece of songwriting that perhaps explains the wide popularity of the track.
‘Breathing’ sees a soft confession of the drastic impacts of love, and ‘Tell Your Girlfriend’ shows us the very opposite: a confrontation of infidelity, forming a sharp contrast of love and outrage. The tracks together show Anne-Marie is not short of range, with infidelity and adoration explored in such close proximity.
We leave Therapy on an optimistic note, with the closing pair of tracks giving us a refusal of bitterness and resentment in place of maturity and a consciously kind break up. ‘Therapy’ itself is a personal, closing insight to the journey of Anne-Marie seeking help through her psychiatrist, and offers a hopeful message of learning and progress that fans can draw hope from, as the final note to a beautiful, masterfully-written and produced album.