Australia’s Hottest 100 runner-up; no relation to Left…
Joshua Copperman: Around this time last year, I predicted to myself that Daughter’s messy, muddy Not To Disappear would become a future cult classic, even as it was relatively overlooked upon its release. It looks like I might be onto something after all – it’s possible to hear shades of Elena Tonra’s singing in Amy Shark’s vocals, even though she later transitions to sound more like a trip-hop Alanis Morrissette. Then the lyrics are just fantastic, with some great lines that get away with rhyming “arm” with “arm” because it works within the context of the song; she’s so wrapped up in this crush that she can’t even write coherently! I love how intimate it feels too — I still haven’t set on who specifically this reminds me of (Elena? Alanis? Mitski? “I’m With You”-era Avril?) but the personal nature of the song is probably why. This kind of deadpan delivery is usually for a breakup song, and this is literally about being in love and not much else. Absolutely lovely, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see my score go up over the next few months.
Peter Ryan: “I adore you” strikes me as an especially grown-up and serious way to spell out your feelings for someone, like the person who’s saying it must have thought about it an awful lot. “Adore” is concerned with the workaday realities of adult crushes — more belly-full-of-rocks than butterflies — there’s the bit about being broke, but also the negotiation of that vast terrible expanse that contains both designations like “lover” as well as the need to compete for his attention. But with all the gutter-kicking and arm-rubbing and basketball courts and aimless walks to the edge of town, Amy Shark’s lyric is also loaded with an almost-teenage sense of drama, lending a dose of bliss to counter the creeping anxiety. That’s a tough balance to strike, but it’s crushpop gold, and it’s why the song connects.
Will Adams: Unlike so many feather-light crush songs, “Adore” is a weighty one. It’s not just the slightly swung, lumbering drums. It’s Amy Shark knowing her feelings are true but needing to validate them further. She gets drunk, she gets territorial, she gets dressed up (“I wanna be found by you” is the most brutal line here); there’s no sense that her love is unrequited, but there’s a sense that Shark realizes that this feeling might not come again if she passes it up, and she chooses to dive in no matter what.
Alfred Soto: Drum loop and sampled distorto-hook aside, “Adore” might have come from the pen of Angel Olsen, but, however, I can hear Sam Smith playing the Method actor reciting the lines about slugging anyone who touches her lover. Actually, I can’t. The well-named Shark has one up on him.
Edward Okulicz: I’m probably overrating this because it’s got one of the best middle eights I can remember in recent memory. I also love the echoey, sinister guitar chords in the verses, Amy Shark imbues the song with both vulnerability and menace and it’s incredibly effective.
Iain Mew: Every guitar chord comes with a slight squeak and stays just a bit too long, each one a lingering drunken glance or silent self-directed eyeroll of its own. Amy Shark sounds like she’s singing through gritted teeth even when not kicking stones. “Adore” is exquisitely painful, and the Halsey-like alt-pop production is light enough to make it go down a little easier without disguising the bitter rawness that makes it so potent.