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Shalom infuses wit and personality into Sublimation


Release date: 10 March 2023
Shalom - Sublimation cover
17 March 2023, 00:00 Written by Sam Franzini

Indie pop is likely the hardest genre to break into.

Filled with young people singing of heartbreak, something needs to stick out to hold others’ attention. Shalom’s debut, Sublimation, stands its ground in the right ways: an eclectic tracklist, simple but cutting lyrics, and charm for days.

Sublimation is overwhelmingly internal. Thankfully, instead of indulging in self-pity, Shalom prefers to dance it off – the quirky lyrics on “Happenstance” lead its way to a peppy ending, even when she sings that “My need to evaporate and and receive validation at the same time / It’s just happenstance.” On the head-banging opening track, too, she likens her own thought patterns to being a narcissist. “I’m not a selfish girl, I swear / But I got so much going on upstairs.” “Did It To Myself” features a streamlined Janet Jackson beat upgraded with synthesizers, placing blame on oneself for the dissolution of a relationship, which ultimately turns around at the end.

Shalom is smart enough to know that 13 tracks about one’s internal thought process won’t be captivating enough for a debut – a trap other artists get stuck in far too often. Instead, she’s able to grab one’s attention through other themes and musical ideas: “Bodies” has a dangerous beat unlike any other place on the album, on which she sings about bodily anxiety (“I don’t wanna do it / I don’t wanna be perceived today”); self-preservation and personal growth shine on “Mine First”; and “Nowadays” is a beautiful tribute to her late friend. “They’ll say that you were perfect / You were only 15 / They’ll light a purple candle / They’ll all pray on their knees,” she sings.

Sublimation’s flaws are few and are likely to be solved with maturity – an odd vocal performance on places like “Whole Life”, and a misplaced trap beat on “Mine First”. On “Soccer Mommy”, too, Shalom’s influences are clear by naming the track after the singer of the same name, but an odd feeling comes when she’s mentioned in every chorus. Shalom as an artist can fully stand on her own, and name-dropping her in a pseudo-ode makes for an odd and unnecessary effect.

Much of Sublimation concerns futility – unable to swap bodies, and minds, or simply being forced to get through each day. “I hope I find the time to live through this”, Shalom sings on the penultimate track, and on the closer, she admits that she wishes it could be different. “There’s no end in sight for us” she sings, but out of futility can come strength – the idea to keep going, writing, enjoying, when nothing even matters anyway.

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