New Jersey-based singer-songwriter Annie Blackman explores love and friendship on a new, self-released track.
In an app teeming with viral dances, idiotic pranks, and the occasional outburst from Claudia Conway, it’s rare that something objectively good comes from TikTok. Annie Blackman is the exception. The singer-songwriter from Montclair, New Jersey became somewhat viral for a brief clip of her singing a short verse from an unreleased song, a post that attracted thousands of viewers to the musician’s glimmery vocals, understated guitar, and intelligent lyrics. However, Blackman isn’t a one-loop wonder– she has spent years steadily building a small yet passionate, almost cult-like following with her intimate songs, many of which were released while Blackman was still a high school student. Early releases like 2016 debut EP Blue Green outlined tales of frustrating teenage love. “Wrong Again,” the newest single from the singer-songwriter, finds Blackman in similar territory as she grapples with difficult relationships. However, time has gifted wisdom to the artist, who portrays more complicated interactions than previously explored on “Wrong Again” while still maintaining the same ease that she exhibited in prior releases.
In a statement, Blackman explained that “Wrong Again” is a track about “a summer wavering between guilt and desire… This song is the result of reckoning with the loss of a close friendship in the name of a new relationship.” She begins her new track by painting the scene in heavy strokes, “Doubt creeps in / Easy things will always end / And if I’m feelin’ bad when they do / At least I won’t fold my arms and warn her from the corner of the room.” She continues, expertly dissecting the situation, “Take me ’til I’m sorry / Make me something mean / Courage wasn’t doing what I wanted when I wanted how I pleased.” Throughout the chorus, she laments, “What a selfish summer I had with my friend.” Her self-deprecation is what makes her cutting lyrics so painfully relatable, as her investigation of her own worst qualities cause the listener to engage in similar introspection. Blackman‘s ability to turn a story into a song is reminiscent of anecdote-inclined greats like quirky troubadour Sidney Gish or the queen of musical mumblecore, Lomelda.
“Wrong Again,” which was recorded with help from Marshall and Jameson Ghalioungui of the buzzy, Chicago-based band Camp Edwards, is a departure from Blackman‘s otherwise overwhelmingly acoustic oeuvre. In this single, her voice is at its usual, brazenly confessional brilliance. However, instead of the modest, meandering backing guitar that fans have come to expect, the Ghalioungui brothers add a more powerful punch to Blackman‘s lo-fi offerings. With guitar that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Phoebe Bridgers track accompanied by a crisp drumline and Blackman‘s layered vocals, “Wrong Again” can come off as busy at times. The resulting sound is the sonic equivalent of a librarian taking off her glasses: The change is welcome, but the familiarity of the former presentation is sometimes missed. However, the final product is ultimately an exciting new direction for the project, promising a more polished, sophisticated sound on the horizon. It will be interesting to see how this marriage between the Ghaliounguis and Blackman finds more certain footing in future releases.
Watch the accompanying self-directed video below.