Scandinavian songstress and whimsical pop dreamweaver, Anna of the North, was in a state of blissful perma bounce when she brought her confessional, electrified powerpop to fans at Brighton Music Hall to promote her new album, Dream Girl.
Brighton Music Hall holds around 500 people. Its ceilings are high enough to make it feel open, but low enough to contain magnetic energy that the right artist at the right time can create in the space. When Anna of the North took the stage, you could feel heat and electricity fill the room from above and below. The rising synth pop singer from Norway anointed her fans in a white oversized button down, flowing brown locks and a giant toothy grin on her biggest tour to date to promote her heartfelt sophomore album Dream Girl.
Both on stage and in the studio, Anna is a light spirit. She is all about blissful, breezy, well-lit music that people can smile, sing, and sway to, even when the subject matter is serious. She uses hypnotic synth beats, whimsical melodies, soulful vocals and relatable lyrics to make you feel lighter even during heavy, honest breakup ballads like “Leaning on myself,” which she told the audience was her favorite song. Her music can also have a mystical quality to it; it can feel like walking through a lush forest on a magical version of this world from another time, almost Lord of the Rings-esque. She played up this effect in the video for one her first big hits from 2015, aptly named “The Dreamer.” Even with these ethereal qualities, it is her relatable confessions that really kept the audience engaged.
She seemed genuinely excited to have the stage that night; you could tell by her elated dance moves– she would high-kick, spin, and slide through her newfound territory like Tom Cruise in Risky Business. She bounced through the eccentric pop power anthem “Thank Me Later” and started a slow clap during the confessional, “Used to be”. Anna would say things like, “this next song is really easy to sing along to;” she seamlessly orchestrated call and response during “My love” a slow paced song off her new album that people did really like to sing along to.
Anna has a certain global pop appeal. The first song she ever released, “Sway,” was famously remixed by The Chainsmokers and became a viral sensation that put her on the map in 2014. Her first full-length album, Lovers, dropped in 2017 and was called “the year’s chillest heartbreak record” by Fader. It was even featured as the title track on Netflix’s seminal smash hit ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.’ Her album is still streaming over 100,000 times per day, and has made the top 100 charts in 171 countries. Anna continues to pick up notable features with today’s most interesting pop artists across the spectrum from synth-pop party all-star Snakehips to millennial hip hop pioneer Tyler, The Creator and even R&B’s avant-garde leading man Frank Ocean.
The high point of the show was when she played her new album’s lead single “Dream Girl.” She sang it with a bop and a bounce; her vocals were complimented by her signature smile that seemed to have stayed in place throughout the entire show. Her drummers’ syncopated snare hits built during the bridge of the song and gave way to a crash of symbols and smoke for the payoff in the lovable chorus as the audience sang along with Anna smiling, “I’m still your dreeeaam girl!” By then, the audience was floating on a cloud that Anna had created for them, and basking in her warm rays.