Shamir has great range. This dude can snap out catchy new wave pop and electro raps that sneak in and become your life jingle like it’s nothing, but he can also convincingly cover Miranda Lambert with sufficient country forlorn longing, the loneliest 20-year-old in the world.
“Darker,” the latest single and video from his forthcoming LP Ratchet, is a testament to that versatility. It’s a vocal ballad or a hymn set in the desert at Joshua Tree, a locale renowned for its existential pilgrimages, and this is no different. “It doesn’t get darker,” he sings, “’less you expect it to. Cause it’s getting harder to contain the truth. You can’t contain the truth.”
It’s a quite optimistic song for a young person in a world where everything is garbage, but what’s more striking is how plaintive it is, resonating with a prayer-like emotional depth. I’ve been on the Shamir train for a bit, but this is fully transportive, a beautiful song with the sparest bit of music in the background—a helicopter oscillating, a star falling—beyond an organ, he doesn’t need much else. This is between him and whatever higher power he subscribes to. If it’s just hope, then that’s enough.
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