Andrew Reviews Amy Shark’s “Love Monster”

Andrew Reviews Amy Shark’s “Love Monster”

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It was on a human-and-a-half-sized red couch in a Dupont Circle apartment when Amy Shark’s “Adore” first pierced my eardrums. The song had just been uploaded to Triple J Unearthed, and then downloaded to my out-of-date Macbook Pro. I knew from first listen that Shark was special; her poignant depiction of being young and infatuated provided the perfect soundtrack to a sweltering D.C. summer. It didn’t take long for the rest of the world to hop on the Sharkboat too, with her debut EP Night Thinker launching intercontinental tours and landing three tracks in Triple J’s hallowed Hottest 100 countdown–with “Adore” sliding in at number 2 in 2016.

Now, two years on from that breakout song, she’s dropped her full length debut, Love Monster. A combo of indie pop production and Shark’s soulful vocals Love Monster is full of the catchy, relatable tunes that make her so appealing. It’s apparent right off the bat in the sing-songy album opener, “I Got You,” reaffirmed in old friend “Adore,” and cemented in the Jack Antonoff-produced “All Loved Up,” the album’s lovey-dovey follow-up single to Hottest 100 frontrunner “I Said Hi,” a song about Shark’s tenacity and willpower to not give up in a cutthroat industry she struggled in for more than a decade before finally hitting it big.

Every track on Love Monster is a plus, with some moments above the rest. Moments like the earworm “Mess Her Up,” where Shark’s trademark wailing vocal timbre is out in full force; and “Never Coming Back,” a ditty whose catchy phrasing in the verse evokes visions of the pop princess herself–and fellow frequent Antonoff collaborator–Taylor Swift. And if you know me, you know I don’t throw that name around lightly…she is the songwriter of a generation, after all.

Songs like “The Idiot” and old live favorite “Middle of the Night” lament the downfall of relationships past, while tunes like “Leave Us Alone” and “Slow Song” capture the feeling of falling in love anew. “Psycho,” a collaboration with pop-punk legend and personal Shark hero Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, gets at the familiar refrain of being a little too attached in a relationship. The greatest gift we get on this record, though, is the album’s final track, “You Think I Think I Sound Like God.”

One of the first tracks Shark ever wrote, YTITISLG has been a staple of her live shows since her first headline tour, but was never released–until now. She always deemed it too personal, placating fans’ requests for a studio version with the classic “maybe one day” line. That day has come, and we are all better for it. She said it was her most personal song, and she’s not lying–YTITISLG provides us the most intimate look yet at our friend Amy, and stands out as her best track to date. That’s right, including “Adore.” You can quote me on that.

All in all, Love Monster is a triumph of a debut from an indie pop underdog that you can’t help but root for. Go buy it, now.

Score: Falling onto your bed, staring up at the band posters on your wall and thinking about that person that makes your lips buzz.

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