by Jakob Sheppard
TRIGGER WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS A DISCUSSION OF TOPICS INCLUDING ANOREXIA, MENTAL ILLNESS AND SELF HARM
I was fortunate enough to be able to ask Winnipeg’s Annaxis about her brand-new EP: CBT or “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy,” in which she brings her unique brand of dark pop with indie influences like Kate Bush, and Mitski, making the listening experience sombre yet beautiful at the same time.
Each song paints this picture of suffering, perseverance and recovery through the worst times.
“I’ve had mental health issues since middle school, and I guess you could say CBT is a reflection of that,” she explained. “I’d do my best to channel those emotions and deal with them healthily. So, the songs just kind of ebbed and flowed with whatever I was feeling at the time.”
This carries perfectly into the opening track, “24 hours” which she told me she wrote in just grade 9.
“[It’s] about recovery from self-harm, and how it kind of gets stuck in your head and is incredibly difficult to move on from.”
Despite the theme, the instrumental is almost upbeat with “too many synths for its own good, in the best of ways” This song sounds perfect for a late-night drive in the city and sounds like a darker version of The Weeknd’s 2020 smash hit: “Blinding Lights.”
The next track, “In My Own Mind” has a more upbeat energy. “It’s about fighting my personal demons and believing in my ability to move on,” she explained that her dad can be heard singing background vocals which adds to the theme of fellowship and recovery.
“I Don’t Like Bathrooms” is probably the darkest moment of the EP. “As a sufferer now recovered from an eating disorder, bathrooms have never been a safe place for me.” This feeling echo’s in the lyrics of the track; she sings about how bathrooms are “too perfect” and “too clean” and how she is too messy for them. This track was a powerful one.
“‘RIP’ is different from other tracks,” she told me. It isn’t about death but rather a friendship that soured because of “mental illness and its complications.” It feels like a letter from an old friend, leaving all their feelings on the table.
The closing track, “Ana and the Teen” is the melancholic point on the EP. On the surface, it sounds like a conversation between an adult authority figure and a younger person. But the true meaning is much blacker. “In a lot of internet communities, Ana is short for anorexia. The song is a conversation between me and my illness” The song is about the singer having an internal battle with her condition. This is an excellent metaphor and makes the message come across very well. The instrumental on this track is much simpler than the others but works so well in connecting to the lyrics.
I was extremely impressed with this project, and l look forward to a full-length album from her.