Monday, July 13th, 2020

Shamir – On My Own

Not a Joey Potter cover…


Alfred Soto: Flippy-floppy drums and guitar? Who expected this? Such emphatic methods in support of an introvert’s anthem — the dialectics are delicious. “I feel it in my bones/Inside myself is where I belong,” he sings in a middle eight of finesse and specificity. 

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: A song about isolation where every piece feels deeply interlinked. From that call-and-response drum hook and the endlessly repeating two-note pattern of the guitar riff to the multi-tracked warmth of Shamir’s vocal performance, nothing on “On My Own” goes it alone. Shamir’s tone isn’t angry or sorrowful. In the inward voyage, the contraction from everyday life, he makes like a pop punk monastic, offering up a perfectly crafted pop song as a product of solitude.

David Moore: On Hope, Shamir was raw and tuneful in equal measure — and since then Shamir has been threading the needle artfully, upping the production gloss without losing the urgency. This one also qualifies as quarantine-pop, of the sort that was extremely relevant a few weeks ago and now feels crystallized in a moment that was (is?) simultaneously endless and fleeting.

Nortey Dowuona: Big, galloping drums ride over sliding synths and shark-fin guitars and low swinging bass. Shamir glues them all together, pulling them along with Shamir as Shamir begins to spin them in a circle. As they lift, Shamir stands atop them and rises up over the skyscrapers into the clouds, cutting each down as trees spring through their foundations, with Shamir landing in a tree.

Katherine St Asaph: Two great guitar riffs — one of which gets echoed as a bass riff, a trick I’ll always have a weakness for. Vaguely familiar riffs, too, so probably one or both of them might be nicked or pastiched from somewhere — and if you figure out which vocalist/s Shamir’s a dead ringer for please let me know; it’s been bugging me for over a week. But familiar doesn’t imply less great.

Thomas Inskeep: Shamir doing a “traditional” pop-rock song? Wow. I’d likely like this better if I enjoyed traditional pop-rock more. His voice, a piercing countertenor, doesn’t really match with the song and music, unfortunately.

Will Adams: The dense pop-rock arrangement recalls Sky Ferreira’s “You’re Not the One,” which is also a song about how unrequited love can feel like you’re drowning in percussion. But “On My Own” is more hopeful; Shamir finds comfort in post-breakup solitude rather than melancholy. It’s a hymn for the introverts, one that will last beyond its timely nature.

Leah Isobel: Shamir’s early material and the press surrounding it presented him as something of an aspirational figure — he was a party-starter, an uplifting diva, and a motivational speaker in one. He was an extrovert, or at least he was supposed to be. But the intervening years of label drama, mental health struggles, and musical rebrands have thrown that characterization overboard, and “On My Own” feels like an endpoint for this evolution. His voice sounds better than it ever has — he’s multitracked and mixed a little further back, which allows him to play against the chilly alt-rock arrangement instead of forcing him into a bright pop spotlight. Morever, his lyrics don’t strain for universality to resonate, and in fact, he shrugs off the idea: “I don’t care to feel like I belong,” he hums in the chorus, “but you always did.” He admits that he may be cold, but better that than suffering in silence “just to feel whole.” Not to be like “as a Gay Person,” but as a gay person, the unflinching depiction of what it is to be an outcast in a society that either commodifies you or wants nothing to do with you feels spot-on. Having been through the industry machine before, Shamir knows that dynamic intimately, and all of that experience comes to bear here. It’s the most completely satisfying song he’s made so far.

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One Response to “Shamir – On My Own”

  1. really enjoying all these takes and especially love leah and josh’s blurbs

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