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Shamir - Heterosexuality Music Album Reviews

Shamir - Heterosexuality Music Album Reviews
Backed by industrial noise, drum machines, and synths, the Philadelphia-based songwriter rages at systems of oppression on a bleak, troubling record of nearly unrelenting hostility.

Heterosexuality is the latest installment in Shamir’s spiky “anti-career.” After his glossy major-label debut, Ratchet, the Las Vegas-born, Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter has issued a cavalcade of self-released, lo-fi experiments: at times brilliant, at times bizarre, but never bland. Recent records drew on hip-hop and country, but Heterosexuality nods to icons of rage like Nine Inch Nails with lyrics that capture the heavy burden of being a visibly trans person in North America.

Produced by Hollow Comet, a member of the Philadelphia indie rock band Strange Ranger, this is a record of nearly unrelenting hostility. Over industrial noise, horror-movie synths, and grating drum machines, Shamir uses his singular, stunning voice to vent at the systems oppressing him, the spectators gawking at him, and the so-called friends who’ve failed him. “I’ll keep my foot on your neck,” he growls on the gritty “Abomination,” and you don’t doubt for a second that he means it. A few moments later, in the funniest line on the album, he declares himself a “thick tankie bitch” with “a custom guillotine.” His message is clear: Join or die. Or, as he sings in “Gay Agenda,” “Free your mind, come outside/Pledge allegiance to the gay agenda.” In moments like these, Heterosexuality stands as a powerful alternative to the zero-calorie pride anthems that pepper the pop charts every June.

Elsewhere, Shamir directs his anger not at the outside world but toward himself. The 27-year-old artist has been open about his diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and many of his albums—particularly 2018’s Resolution, a meditation on racist violence—explore his experiences navigating traumatic circumstances. He has welcomed fans into his sadness, giving young queer people of color a rare space to unburden themselves in safety.

But he offers little comfort on Heterosexuality, working in a lineage of industrial music about self-harm and suicide. Some lyrics, like the chorus of “Gay Agenda,” are sung with tongue pressed firmly to cheek: “Pray as much as you can, there’s no hope for me/I will see you in hell/I will be bringing the heat.” Others are more troubling, with lyrics that allude to cutting, hanging, and drowning. “Cisgender” opens in defeat, with Shamir singing, “You wanna kill me? Well, here’s your chance!/I can barely get around now as it fucking stands.” Later in the song, when he flies toward the highest register of his voice to belt, “I’m not gonna pass for you,” his sense of defiance sounds like that of Dido on the pyre. “I’m not sure there’s a life I can lead,” he confesses on “Gay Agenda,” his remarkable voice sounding muddier, lower, less clear, before vowing on “Reproductive” to “make sure the evil ends here with me.”

To be clear, Shamir doesn’t owe anyone optimism. There must be room in queer songwriting for a broader spectrum of emotion than pride alone. That said, a sort of hopelessness flows through Heterosexuality. “Serotonin comes and goes in tiny waves,” he sings on the closing track, “Nuclear.” “But these days, it’s stalled, and I kinda like it that way.” Shamir is singing from a position of surrender, suggesting that coping with depression means ceding to it. It can make for a gutting listen.

While preparing to write this review, I’d gone for long walks through my city, headphones in. I listened to Shamir’s entire body of work, thrilling as he departed from the mainstream to hone a distinct, abrasive point of view. On one of these walks, a man twice my size flew into my periphery. He punched me. He called me a dyke.

For days afterward, I sat in my apartment and struggled to make sense of what had happened to me in broad daylight, on the street where I live, surrounded by neighbors who didn’t stop to help. Listening to Heterosexuality, I often felt as though Shamir and I were standing in the same dark place together, asking one another: Why go on? I don’t fault Shamir for asking the question. But I want us to go on, anyway, and, in the words of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Anne Boyer, clamber out of that which resembles the grave but isn’t. Shamir finds plenty of worthy targets for his rage in Heterosexuality. Burial is their job, not ours.

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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.
Shamir - Heterosexuality Music Album Reviews Shamir - Heterosexuality Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 Rating: 5

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