Anna of the North Take You Through New Album ‘Lovers’

Anna of the North Take You Through New Album ‘Lovers’

Listen to the rising duo's debut album as they talk to V about making the record, track by track.

Listen to the rising duo's debut album as they talk to V about making the record, track by track.

Text: Jake Viswanath

The best pop music tends to come from somewhere in Scandinavia, and Anna of the North is yet another shining example — but with a Kiwi twist. Today, after amassing over 65 million Spotify streams with singles like “Someone,” the rising duo, comprised of Norwegian lead singer Anna Lotterud and New Zealand-born producer Brady Daniell-Smith, have released their debut album Lovers, a collection of clean and pristine electro-pop that snaps, crackles, and moves like all great pop should.

With Anna’s rich vocals and Brady’s warm, self-assured electronic productions, the duo forges a sound that is propulsive, moving, and calm all at once, making for a versatile record that can soundtrack beach days, car rides, or crying in the club restroom. And of course, the sheen that makes Scandi-pop so great— catchy melodies, experimental structures, and shiny synths — is ever-present on Lovers, letting Anna of the North make a distinct mark in the music world. Here, Anna and Brady take V through the album track-by-track, explaining the inspirations behind each song and why they made the often-unconventional artistic decisions that led to this slice of pop goodness.

1. Moving On

Brady: I was going through my first experience with heartbreak and I needed to hear a strong female character in my life telling me that it was going to be alright. So I wrote the song from the point of a female friend, or a sister — I’ve got lots of them. It was one of them telling me it would be OK because that was the song I needed to hear at that time.

Anna: Both “Moving On” and another track, “Money,” look at relationships from another perspective — it’s not the person in the relationship but someone outside that’s offering that comfort. For all its heartbreak, I hope the album can feel like a big hug.

2. Someone

Brady: I wanted to make something sound like the stuff I was listening to when I was a kid, stuff that was on the radio when I would be driving around in the car with my parents.

Anna: It’s a great driving song! We both love the 80s so there’s clearly a nod to that in this one.

Brady: Then the story came from that feeling that almost everyone must have had: waking up after a big night and instantly regretting something that happened. It’s about accepting that you’re only human and to learn how to forgive yourself for your own mistakes, and how someone can save you from repeating any old habits.

3. Lovers

Anna: I went through a break up when making the record, and Brady got really inspired by all the shit I was going through. The song is about how you can be obsessed with a person, and you really want them to notice you.

Brady: It doesn’t really have a positive message, it’s just stating that it’s a sad situation. If you’re going through a shit time and you hear someone else saying exactly how you feel, it always helps. It doesn’t give you a solution or offer any answers, but just knowing that someone else is going through it reassures you that you’re not crazy, and not the only person in the world that’s been through it.

Anna: Yeah. It’s the “OK, I’m not alone” feeling.

4. Money

Anna: It’s about being with someone for the wrong reasons; maybe for status, maybe because they’ve got so many Instagram followers, or just because they're really handsome. It’s about people who use other people close to them for money or fame or whatever.

5. Always

Anna: It’s about always feeling like you’re in the background.

Brady: Haha.

6. Feels

Anna: It’s about when the other person has moved on but he or she doesn’t have the courage to tell you that. You feel things starting to change and you’re trying to reach out, but deep down, you already know things will never the same. But the only thing worse than getting your heartbroken is breaking one so I get it.

Brady: Yeah, it’s better to be on the receiving end as the guilt is worse.

7. Baby

Anna: It's the only track we had released before the album and it’s the one that fits the best. I think it’s gonna have a long life. Something I really like about our own music is that we don’t feel like we have to follow the traditional song structure all the time.

Brady:Yeah, “Baby” doesn’t really have a chorus. We hate following the rules, and while making the album, I felt more comfortable about this structure than with our singles. Baby was our first real slow jam and that’s become a big part of our music now.

8. Friends

Anna:Along with “Lovers,” “Friends” is one of my favorites. For me, it’s a very personal song and we wrote it when I was in the the middle of a breakup. The lyrics are very real. I think it’s definitely one I can go back to to reflect on that difficult time.

Brady: I like the minimalism and space in it. Lyrically, it’s a really nice story, but it’s also the part of the album where it takes a bit of a break. It’s a change of pace.

9. Fire

Anna:We needed something a bit different to the others. It’s been so good doing that one at festivals this summer. People didn’t know it as it only just came out, but as soon as we dropped the beat, people were jumping up and down.

10. All I Want

Brady: There’s not really a lot of room for metaphors in this one. It’s just “this is what I want …”

Anna: “…and I’m not getting it. Fuck.” It’s really straight to the point and is another “go back to” song for me, and I still love listening to it.

Credits: Photo: Jonathan Vivaas Kise

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