Annika - I Really Don't Want To / It Still Hurts
It's a debut "twingle" from Annika, with 2 slices of prime Canadian country. She is not entirely new to the scene though having formerly been part of duo Leaving Thomas, and having written songs with the likes of Liz Rose and Phil Barton who UK fans will be well aware of.
To establish yourselves in the public eye as a solo performer you need to hit them with something strong and Annika well and truly does this with both of these tracks. They are big production numbers dealing with universal subjects that we can all associate with as they examine the magic of relationships from either end of the telescope, those electrifying first sparks of one starting and the pain associated with one refusing to fade away long after you know that it has burnt out.
"I Really Don't Want To" is essentially a retelling of the feelings Annika felt as she and her husband Spencer came to be and that personal link really clearly shines through in the lyrics,
"I could pretend this kiss isn't what it is, act like there is no spark between us
Tell my heart to stop going wild when I see a smile, like I don't love to see it
I could say we're moving too fast say goodnight and call myself a cab"
and so it goes with just Annika and an acoustic guitar until she announces with some force "I Really Don't Want To"! and then all hell breaks loose with percussion, electric guitars and a prominently pounded piano. Annika's voice with a bluesy timbre to it, beautifully controlled always at the forefront of the mix.
The bridge sees a confirmation of something of a tipping point as if it wasn't already clear, that it is time to once again fall in love. It's very much on her terms and her choice the "I Could"s below affirrning that,
"I can eat I can sleep i can breathe without you but don't get me wrong
I could stand on my own, I could live life alone, if that's what I had to do"
This time round the words "Really Don't Want To" are delivered softly as if personally speaking to the recipient while looking in their eyes.
Although song seems about to head for a fade, there are in fact nearly 2 minutes left which is filled with a great piano solo and swathes of back vocals concluding a quite epic single
"It Still Hurts" was the first released half of the twingle and as we said in the intro sees things very much from the other perspective. Starting in a similar way to just an acoustic guitar the mood and delivery is altogether different.
"It's barely been a year since you went and cut me loose
Used to wait up for your calls, staring at the walls"
The reality of breaking up "making friends with lonely" is all to realistically laid out.
As if the act of breaking is not bad up enough it is the prospect of then meeting the other party that is perhaps more difficult to deal with.
"You were the drug i already quit
But when i see you I need another hit
I know i'm through the worst of it
But it still hurts just a little bit"
Musically it's a game of two halves, the first very much just guitar and piano with Annika vocals giving the feel of almost cracking as she delivers the key line, The second half is musically more aggressive to match the lyrics
"Built up my defences - It's like I can sense it
Before you even cross my mind"
and this time round the key lines are delivered in a more dispassionate matter.
Equally adept at the quiet intimate elements or the more bombastic all out onslaughts of the full band sections Annika is able to deliver with a emotional connection.