SHAMIR MAKES GENRELESSNESS LOOK EFFORTLESSLY COOL WITH “ON MY OWN”
When I first came across Shamir, he was a rapping. On 2015’s “On the Regular,” Shamir let the rhyme and flow of his naturally androgynous voice take the front seat with a hip hop banger that ended up being featured heavily in a commercial for the Android Watch OS. I saw it. You saw it. We all saw it. But that was hip hop and now this definitely isn’t. I understand the significance of getting a song in a commercial as a big money making opportunity for indie artists, but leading off with a single that isn’t an entirely accurate representation of the rest of Shamir’s catalogue certainly did a disservice to a listener like me. So I didn’t listen for five years. And boy was I wrong.
Shamir isn’t one that you can pin down so easily. With six studio album releases in the past five years, this singer/multi-instrumentalist has accumulated quite the catalogue of indie crooning electronic pop soul (what? I’m not sure either), oscillating between modes on every new track.
WIll Shamir revert back to hip hop? Shoegaze soul? Acoustic folk? Catchy as hell funktronica? Only time will tell.
But maybe that’s what makes Shamir so special. He’s not about to be pinned down by anything.
SHAMIR - ON MY OWN
Today, with “On My Own,” Shamir is in full indie rock mode (I mean sorta, he’s going to end up multiple places on the We Are: The Guard site). Kicking off with a guitar riff that’s reminiscent of the Pixies “Where is My Mind,” Shamir momentarily taps into our 90s nostalgia before letting it die away with his distinctly 2020 voice, singing heartfelt and deeply conflicted lyrics about getting back to yourself after a bad breakup.
“On My Own” isn’t about quarantine, but it might as well be. This time in our houses is hopefully teaching us all that it is majorly important to like being alone with yourself. When Shamir sings “I don't mind to live all on my own. And I never did” in the chorus this feels understood and victorious. A coming to terms with the fact that we will always be the best friend that we have.
Shamir has never been a stranger to strong production, and it’s certainly on display here, with drums and guitar battling for second fiddle to a voice that has really come into his own as the full package. Sure, maybe this is hard to classify. Is it Indie? Is it soul? Is it just genreless? But who cares really. We couldn’t pin Prince down for years and he left us as a National Treasure. Can Shamir replace that void? Here’s hoping.
From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.