Shamir - Hope
Late on a Sunday Shamir announced that He was going to release a surprise album that He had only recorded the past weekend. In the album's description on SoundCloud Shamir discussed how disillusioned with music He had become and how this album was an attempt to get back to the three things he loved the most: Pop, LoFi and Outsider music. Hope certainly ticks all three of those boxes in one way or another and while it feels incredibly vulnerable and real it is a far departure from the stuff He has done in the past. This is not the rachet ass goon Shamir we have come to love and instead this is the singing in the dark on instagram Shamir who has made himself known over the past year. Relocating from Vegas to Philadelphia also seems to have altered the singers style quite a bit. I was primed and ready to really hate this record because of what it was not, but when you give it a shot on it's own it really is something special. "What Else" in particular is this fascinating look at loneliness and for being done on a 4-track sounds absolutely incredible. LoFi should not sound as good as Shamir's take on it, but producing the album himself really lead to some bold and fascinating choices. You just never expected Shamir to be really singing a legit power ballad but that is exactly what "Ignore Everything" actually is, and it is done very well. This album feels like the time in a show where Shamir would slow things down and get poignant but that feeling lasts the whole record and you don't want it to go away.
The album was released as one track on SoundCloud which can make some of the transitions rough and replays nearly impossible, but there is a certain charm to how rough it is. It also makes it a little tough to figure out which song you a listening to if you aren't paying attention. This record feels a lot like the one that Kid Cudi tried to make with his last release Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin but it had to much polish and too much self indulgence. By keeping this record really tight Shamir is able to work small yet deal with big ideas rather than trying to juggle both at the same time. "I Fucking Hate You" is the one time that everything gets to LoFi for it's own good and the amateurish production loses a bit of it's kitch. Perhaps it is the heavily distorted vocals, or the fact that the song sounds so much like every other home record that you just can't get behind it. Any bad taste though is brushed away by the stellar Blake Babies cover of "Rain". It may have only taken a weekend, but there are so many thought out ideas and great music here that it feels like much more than a simple throw away. Hope ends up being everything you never knew you wanted, but desperately needed from Shamir.
8.5 out of 10