There’s a sense of mystery to Anna of the North. In 2014, she released her debut single “Sway” which became an internet sensation and was quickly remixed by the popular duo The Chainsmokers. In 2017, while working on her own debut album, she was featured on Tyler the Creator’s critically acclaimed album Flower Boy on the singles “Boredom” with Rex Orange County and “911 / Mr. Lonely” with Frank Ocean and Steve Lacy. Alongside some of the biggest names in R&B, Anna of the North offered her distinct soft and soulful vocals.
Later that year she was also featured on songs by American rapper G–Eazy, Irish rapper Rejjie Snow and English electro–pop duo HONNE. She’s the type of singer whose vocals have a way of harmonizing and enhancing music across genres. Her soft, dreamy vocals and her success as a featured vocalist give her an unreal quality. With the release of her latest album, Dream Girl, you can’t help but wonder who Anna of the North is all on her own.
Appearing in the cover art of the album wearing angel wings, Anna of the North is aware of her ethereal persona. In the music video for her title track, “Dream Girl,” Anna walks around a castle–like mansion donned in florals, lace, and ball gowns. Looking closely, you can see she’s wearing prosthetic ears that give her an elfish look. As she sings the lines, “In my dream world, I’m still your dream girl” it’s clear that the artist is enjoying building an image that escapes reality.
The same mythical Anna reappears with angel wings in her music video for “Leaning on Myself.” Singing lines about loneliness and self–reliance, she floats and gracefully dances through each scene, from taxi to motel room. The artist is able to face isolation and pain with self–empowerment. The visuals and the song are beautiful and enigmatic, complimenting her profound lyricism and pristine vocals.
Following with the theme of independence is the perfectly balanced break–up song, “Time to Get Over It.” Contemplating feelings of frustration and nostalgia, Anna of the North finds the confidence to move on from a love gone bad. The opening lines, “It only feels like yesterday when you blew my mind away/People, while they’re passing by, see them look at us smile” stands in stark contrast to the feisty lines of the chorus "Try to get my shit together, you just pull it apart/Try to be the bigger person, boy, you fucked up my heart.” It’s a song that’s equal parts sweet and slow, and upbeat and angsty.
Another stand–out on the album is the single “Playing Games.” Mixing upbeat, electronic dance beats with heartfelt, soulful vocals, Anna of the North brings a depth that’s atypical for the genre. Reminiscent of the album Lovers, Anna of the North is able to create delicate and emotional music that you can still dance to. Although not entirely inventive for the artist, it shows that Anna of the North has found her distinct dream–pop sound.
Nestled in the middle of the album is, "Lonely Life," one of the strongest tracks on the album. With an infectious beat, Anna of the North sings happily about the joys of being alone and owning your own life. She delivers the lyrics “It’s a lonely life, it’s your only life, live it” with such an assertiveness the listener can’t help but listen and soak up her feelings of self–assurance.
Dream Girl demonstrates unrestrained confidence and independence. Anna of the North clearly knows who she is. She’s the champion of self–love, and she's mastered her own distinct sound comprised of feathery vocals and synth–y pop beats.