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Sally Shapiro - Sad Cities Music Album Reviews

Sally Shapiro - Sad Cities Music Album Reviews
The semi-anonymous singer has changed her mind about retirement, but almost nothing else. Her first album since 2013 sets emotional miniatures to widescreen Italo disco and dinner-for-one city pop.

In the mid-2000s, a trio of Swedish stars caught the world’s attention. There was Robyn, whose ability to synthesize complicated emotions into pop made her an idol. There was the Knife, whose penchant for shredding genre boundaries made them underground heroes. And then there was Sally Shapiro, who confusingly was a woman called Sally Shapiro and also a duo with Johan Agebjörn, and who paired music originating in glamour hedonism with a singer who sounded scared of her own shadow, or more interested in it than any spotlight. Sally Shapiro arrived with a pledge of allegiance: “I’ll Be By Your Side,” a heavy pour of expertly chilled Italo disco that made her a cult favorite.

Shapiro went on to release a trio of fine albums: 2006’s Disco Romance, a stellar distillation of what Robyn might sound like if she actually preferred dancing on her own; 2009’s My Guilty Pleasure, in which both the guilt and the pleasure were slap-bass; and 2013’s Somewhere Else, which found Shapiro and a passel of other producers lost in slight, summery idylls. Attendant remix albums brought Shapiro—whose voice expresses a yearning for intense emotions without the chops to convey them, and in that way makes jewels of its flaws—to other parties, with varying results. And then, without much fanfare, it all came to an end with 2016’s glistening single “If You Ever Want to Change Your Mind.”

Nearly six years later, Shapiro has changed her mind about retirement, but almost nothing else. Sad Cities sounds exactly as you might imagine: emotional miniatures set to widescreen Italo disco, dinner-for-one city pop, hooks that don’t haunt so much as settle in like a cat in your lap. It’s self-assured in its awkward swooning, forthright in its faith in four-on-the-floor. In its own way—in its belief that its own way will triumph—Sad Cities is its own kind of triumph.

Opener “Forget About You” arrives with a sweet prelude, a few minutes of sparkling electric piano tones and sugary strings before the song reveals itself. “I miss you so/I cry when I’m on my own,” she sings. “Please don’t forget/Forget about me, my friend.” This is a bravura way to return. It’s also twee as fuck. Too distant for TikTok, too instant for a dissertation, “Forget About You” bins anything not earnest and girlish. If it’s a bit prim, well, prim is a vibe. “Believe in Me,” the second track confirms. The piano house grandeur of “Million Ways” is equally epic. “It was worth the waiting, all those cold and lonely nights,” Shapiro sighs, poised as ever, over a track that’s a quick KiNK remix away from becoming a summer anthem. As it is, it’s pure satisfaction: “Now you’re compensated,” she says, “with a billion shining lights.”

Throughout, assurance is as common as ambivalence, which makes Sad Cities feel less like a melancholy wallow and more like an adult acceptance of the truth of adolescent emotions. “It’s such a sad city,” she announces in the title track, a pep in her step; if “it’s a paradise for everyone but me,” maybe that’s because she’s actually happy. “Dulcinea” dares to sound hopeful, as heartfelt as prime ABBA with none of the heartbreak. “Life is just the way you think it will be,” she resolves. For Sally Shapiro, at home in her head, thinking is how things happen.

Well-versed in the ecstasy of dance music, Shapiro also knows the value of getting out of your head. “Tell Me How” is a warm pool of ambient house streaked with squiggles like bright-colored bath gel; “Christmas Escape” eschews the spirited jingle of Mariah and the arch glamour of Saint Etienne and instead revels in the seasonal psychedelia of Coil. Closer “Fading Away” is a black-light fever dream, mind-altering enough for a Euphoria feature but wise enough in the ways of Hi-NRG to know that a self can be reborn only after the ego death of a crowded dancefloor. Sad Cities is the same song Sally’s always been singing, entirely self-reverential, a guidebook for sticking to your (disco laser) guns. Its stubborn self-reliance sounds like hard-won confidence.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Sally Shapiro - Sad Cities Music Album Reviews Sally Shapiro - Sad Cities Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, February 28, 2022 Rating: 5

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