There are many reasons for giving new artists a try. Anne Simone piqued my interest because of the following words she wrote: “I am a citizen of the world./I tread gently on this earth./My glass is always half full./I celebrate differences./I believe music soothes the soul./I aspire to be the change I want to see.” Originally from Vancouver, Simone currently lives in Seattle where she has been working on her upcoming EP titled Bittersweet. I didn’t quite find what I was looking for in these tracks—that is to say, an expression of the thoughts Simone shared in the lines quoted above—but the EP was still worth a listen.
The opening track, “Digitize Me”, is an upbeat pop dance track with a bit of a twist in that the lyrics also make up a running computer programme. I’m not quite sure how that works, but it’s still kind of cool. Simone explains that while pondering a specific quote—“Programmes must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute”—she was inspired to apply it literally. She further explains how she “may also have been pondering on the wonderful complexity of being human and wishing sometimes we could be as simple as a computer program that ultimately boils down to 1s and 0s, true or false, yes or no.” As Simone is also a software engineer, she is in the enviable position where her professional life and her artistic impulses have come together. For the technically minded or just curious, the code that serves as lyrics is available on GitHub.
The ominous piano and cello in the slower “Gone So Long” change the direction of the album in an emotional song about a romantic relationship gone wrong that Simone still hopes to repair. The tempo increases in the fun-sounding “Let The Heart” which in fact discusses the very serious topic of being taken seriously, being appreciated, and being understood by one’s other half. The layers in this track are each simple but when put together create a complex mixture of sounds that make the message all the poignant. Simone’s vocals in this track remind me a little bit of Madonna in her album Hard Candy.
The EP’s title track feels like a throwback from the 1980s. The slow “Bittersweet” would fit well in a prom night held during those years. It is heartfelt and emotional; Simone reminisces about a past love, wondering if he remembers her, and wishing she had had the opportunity to say goodbye to him. She hopes he is happy in life, even if it is without her – hence the title of the song. Things pick up a little in “Unsaid” and “Fire Rainbow”, two endearing, soothing tracks that close off the EP.