Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Heterosexuality shows Shamir at the top of his creative game


Release date: 11 February 2022
Heterosexuality Album cover
04 March 2022, 11:54 Written by Sam Franzini
Shamir knows exactly what he wants to say. And with his latest studio album Heterosexuality, he does so with the fullest extent of his might behind him. Through ten tight songs, he shows true diversity of sound with lyric-focused avant-garde pop and more accessible jams.

“Gay Agenda” begins almost like an alarm call, with Shamir’s soft voice in front of ominous strings and a crunchy, palpable beat. Touching on toxic masculinity with lines like “You’re just stuck in the box that was made for me,” the song asserts his identity – completely free to do what he pleases, a running motif though the album.

On the rap “Abomination”, Shamir reclaims slurs used against him while using a skillful strategy – softening his voice to a saccharine playfulness, heightening his ideas even more. “Say my life matters, but it’s just an option,” he tackles on the heavy, industrial beat. His musings on capitalism, exploitation, and race are tight, with only a few clunky missteps (“My words heavy on your mind like a hippopotamus”).

Lyrics from these tracks are insightful glimpses to his mind, but the true power comes from the soaring vocals he employs. On “Cisgender”, after minutes of dense electronic build-up, the words almost explode out of him: “I’m not cisgender, not binary trans / …I’m just existing on this godforsaken land.” He does the same on “Nuclear”, an easier song with a breezy, “Margaritaville” like beat, its final verse a grand finale to an album of sonic expertise and finesse.

Shamir smartly incorporates highs and lows within the album – after the barrage of the first four tracks, complex ideas swirling and evolving, we get some easy pop songs in “Cold Brew”, “Married”, and “Caught Up”. Toying with an ‘80s beat, “Stability” speaks to the anxieties of a new relationship: “I don’t want to squander / This beautiful mess.” “Caught Up” leans into indie rock, but presents a similar statement – “So cut me down, I don’t wanna be this high,” he pleads. These catchy songs pose as a welcome relief from the focused, norm-challenging songs at the front of the album.

Heterosexuality is an interesting title choice for an album for which norm-subverting is wholly within the music; it’d be like Björk titling an album “Disco.” But this album has it all, and listeners who crave forward-thinking, statement-making pop will find homes with “Gay Agenda”, “Cisgender”, and “Abomination”, while those less involved can relax with the jams of “Cold Brew", “Nuclear”, and “Stability”. His future is spread out in a number of artistic directions, but for now, he (rightfully) just wants to be.

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