I Bet You Think This Album’s About You
“You have a song/Which means you’re doing something wrong/Don’t think you’re special/’cause it’s about you”
On his second song from his second album* Shamir brilliantly showcases something quite perverse about the human psyche. Let’s imagine that I was once Shamir’s shitty ex-boyfriend: if I just left my clothes strewn across the hallway when getting undressed ready for bed; if I pretended to be, like, really into hip-hop as I felt it would somehow demonstrate affinity, and yet only ever listen to Lil Yachty on loop**; if every time I entered the house I’d bound over the sofa, snatch the remote from him and turn over from whatever faggy thing he was watching like ‘Narcos’ or ‘Gomorrah’ in order to immediately watch the highlights from last night’s WWE Raw (“No, Shammy***, you don’t understand! It’s being held in Chicago and, like, CM Punk is definitely going to make a comeback!”); whenever I’d finish the last of the milk I’d just put the carton back in the fridge; if I once acted surprised when he mentioned he’s black because I ‘Really, honestly don’t see colour’; if I said to friends that you ‘obviously’ didn’t vote for Trump; if I had an ‘All Lives Matter’ bumper sticker and don’t understand the problem with it; if I always had bad breath; if I was the absolute freaking worse. Then imagine if Shamir wrote a song outlining how big of a frickin’ arsewipe I was, basically just taking the 182 words above and making them rhyme (the fucking hack), and broadcast to all of his fans what a miserable waste of flabby-fucks-not-worth-giving I actually was. Have you ever thought how that would make me feel??
Fucking amazing! Somebody wrote a song about me! Have you any idea how much of a killer opening line that is when I’m trying to some hunk at The Molly House Bar?? “Hey gorgeous, men have written songs about the way that I love!”. How many men do you think Mack the Knife was able to pull after that song was released?? Or the ‘Jack’ who was commanded to ‘Hit the Road’?? Or after Tears in Heaven was released, do you think that [no, this is getting far too dark]
Admittedly, this is probably more of an issue over here on the slightly more psychotic side of the human spectrum. I try and keep it under wraps, but I really want to be famous, really want strangers to debate in whispers behind my back whether it’s really me, I want people to think “Wow, you wouldn’t expect someone like him to be in a place like this!”- which they would say in whatever place I was in, because famous people are actually Gods so it’s always unusual to see them loitering amongst the mortals. Currently, I just about care ‘how’ I become famous (though I do occasionally worry that they are already so many world famous bloggers and Immigration Advisors that the market might be a bit overcrowded) and would just about prefer to be renowned for something positive.
But, fuck it, life’s cruel and shitty sometimes, and I can very easily empathise with losing so much belief in both yourself and life’s horrendously inconsistent integrity (or perhaps, you’ve actually comprehended how depressingly unspecial you are) that you seriously believe that the only way you’re going to make any kind of impact on the world is by doing something memorably horrendous. It’s the same desire for recognition at whatever cost that drives school shootings, serial killings and suicide bombings (all three things always have exactly the same amount to do with Islam), and absolutely the one thing I could do tomorrow that would guarantee my name in every paper in the country (in the world if I said I was a Muslim).
I never would though: sorry to sound like a Social Justice Cluck Snowflake (#SJCS) but I actually hold other people’s lives in far too high a regard. What I might do is the craziest, most inventive suicide ever seen, so inspired that it’ll go down as the biggest cultural milestone since Star Wars. Or just, like, kick Taylor Swift really hard in the fanny: she’s bound to write a song about that.
It’s Brenda Spencer I feel sorry for: goes on a good old fashioned school shooting spree and is rewarded by a song written by The Boomtown Rats?! She must have been so pissed off looking down from heaven!!****
‘Revelations’ is just… an absolutely astonishing album.
On his previous album****** I described Shamir as ‘like a toddler let loose in the Sunny Delight cupboard’, and ‘Ratchet’ was the sound of a young man revelling in the endless possibilities of existence and enjoying his androgynous whimsy to an almost excessive degree.
The difference between his…
…sorry, I love Sasha Banks so much that I have to throw a +50 here…
The difference between his first and second album******* is both stark and captivating. In the two years since ‘Ratchet’ Shamir seems to have been burned and battered by the reality of how miserable and damaging the outside world can be if you want to present yourself as being that overjoyed unisexual beacon he wanted to be in 2015. ‘Revelations’ isn’t really a depressing album- it’s more of a sombre ghost of a record that soundtracks late night trips to the 24 hour garage at a foggy 3am- but it’s definitely a depressed album. I can very much empathise with the feeling of being overwhelmed with the despondency of the outer world: in 2016 I spent months on my own in my flat, taking truckloads of psychedelic drugs, writing books, sticking glorious ideas on post it notes all over the wall, and becoming convinced of how amazing I was and how I’d worked out the whole world! I became convinced that I’d cured my depression with the psychedelics and so stopped taking my antidepressants. Suddenly, when you have to come violently to terms with the real world, how horribly unhappy other people seem and how unspectacular you really are, it can hit hard. These ‘revelations’ are horrible
‘Revelations’ reminds me most of Prince’s outstanding and obscure 1997 acoustic album ‘The Truth’, and Shamir seems to have also inherited The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived’s recording schedule: I only realised that this actuslly wasn’t Shamir’s second album when researching this ‘review’********: he released another record in early 2017 and has already released his fourth album before I wrote this. Thing is, like Prince, I absolutely want him to release more records. Shamir may be one of our most interesting pop stars.
To quote myself in 2015: ‘We should all raise our hands and rejoice that artists like Shamir exist, he fits in no obvious hole and listening to his music or watching him perform you at once worry that there is absolutely no crowd that exists for him and also realise with delight that he may be your favourite thing in the world’
Shamir trailed his second album********* with the fantastic single Straight Boys, a gorgeous and heartbreaking ode to how he ‘always seems to let these/Straight boys ruin my life’, and described the thought-provoking video for the song which “quite unequivocally depicts the process of white washing and the repudiation of the queer and people of colour who pioneered”.
Of course, the ‘straight boy’ who both directed and starred in the video also tried his best to ruin Shamir’s life when it was revealed he had been convicted of sexual assault.
Did Shamir argue that such allegations should be taken with a pinch of salt? Did he suggest that the current environment we are perhaps affording too much weight to ‘gossip’? Did he scoff that these days you’re not even aloud to talk to women??
No. Motherfucker just took the video down and recorded a new lo-fi acoustic video (that was gorgeous regardless)
He also said “Turns out you can’t even find cishet guy that’s not a shitty person to even play a shitty person, and above all I’m sorry to the survivors and thank y’all for letting me know!”
What a fucking guy
Age: 23 (-11)
Album Length: 31 minutes (+15)
Very Good Songs: 4 (+8)
Brilliant Songs: 5 (+25)
AMAZING Songs: 0
% of Album Worthwhile: 100
Encapsulates the album perfectly: a once exuberant and outrageous performer now worried about whether t’d be easier if he face simply disappeared completely
Previous Entries: 2016 No.26
Meta Critic: 70
*It’s not his second album
**I only listen to Lil Yachty on loop, but I never claim to be really into hip-hop. Just, like, really aware of what’s cool, yeah?
***I insist on calling him ‘Shammy’ and he fucking hates it
****She’d be in heaven*****, yes, because all afterlife would be grouped together: there’s no ‘good’ and ‘evil’ in the natural world, morality is a concept entirely created by humankind once we developed consciousness, one of our species’s greatest achievements and one we should be very proud of
*****Well, she wouldn’t, because she’s still alive!! Seriously, read that Wikipedia article for the fascinating full story, she’s a one-woman debate class subject
******Not his previous album
*******It’s not his second album
********Google ‘shamir’. Check age on Wikipedia page. Finish
*********Why am I still doing this?
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