Near the end of OH NO!, the rather bleak eighth track from Dear Annie, a radio host butts in to say to Rejjie Snow “Man oh man, you sound sad, I hope everything’s OK, talk to me”. “Mmm, yeah I’m good,” Rejjie replies, and ushers in the next track, the more uptempo Spaceships. But that downbeat mood never quite leaves his delivery.
The album is a subdued affair, almost rap-as-easy-listening, and one that isn’t afraid to wear its influences on its sleeve: the lush production on tracks like Desole and Rainbows, for example, has strong overtones of Tyler, The Creator’s Flower Boy album, and Rejjie’s lyrics can evoke Earl Sweatshirt and Isaiah Rashad. These influences also come from more unorthodox places – the beat that kicks off LMFAO sounds like it’s been lifted straight from a mid-’80s Run-DMC album.
Rejjie’s introspective style creates interesting moments, like in the dark, suicidal Room 27, but can at points become a burden and the album occasionally suffers from lack of variation. To that end Charlie Brown is a huge jolt to the system, a surprisingly faithful cover of Republic Of Loose’s poppy and subversive The Steady Song with Anna Of The North, one of the best songs on the album.
Overall Dear Annie is pleasant, with other highlights including Mon Amour, Pink Lemonade (mostly for its gorgeously woozy production) and Egyptian Luvr, but it could have benefitted from losing some filler and gaining just a little more dynamism from Rejjie himself.