Listen: Shamir Surprise Releases a New Album — All of Which He Made This Weekend

Shamir has returned to the type of lo-fi music-making that first got him noticed when he was a teen in Las Vegas by producer Nick Sylvester — who worked with him on his fantastic Northtown EP and his dance-pop breakout, Ratchet, released by XL Recordings. When I spoke to Shamir in 2015, it seemed like he had an air of wariness and/or weariness about his acceleration towards pop stardom, and today, in surprise releasing a whole new album, titled Hope, he was more explicit about those sentiments. On Soundcloud today, alongside the 10-track album (which he describes as a combination of pop, outsider music, and lo-fi)he shared a message, explaining that it isn’t only a surprise for his fans, but also for him: he made it all this weekend — and made it all himself. (The idea of something less polished, where production won’t overwhelm the cracking emotionalism of his voice, is certainly exciting.) He writes:

I was gonna quit music this weekend. From day 1 it was clear i was an accidental pop star. I loved the idea of it, i mean who doesn’t? Still the wear of staying polished with how im presented and how my music was presented took a huge toll on me mentally. I started to hate music, the thing i loved the most! When i would listen to immaculate recordings with my friends their praise over the quality of the art as opposed to the art itself made me feel really sad for music as a medium in general. My music only feels exciting for me if its in the moment, and thats what this album is. I made this album this past weekend stuck in my room with just a 4 track feeling hopeless about my love for music. Im not gonna lie, this album is hard to listen to, but it was even harder for me to share. I love pop music, i love outsider music, and i love lofi music, this is my way of combining all 3. Anyway I played, wrote, produced, and mixed everything and big thanks to Kieran Ferris for Mastering an album with an hours notice! its free! Enjoy! Love Yall! Still more 2 come!!!!!!!

Here’s the tracklist Shamir shared on Soundcloud:

  1. Hope
  2. What Else
  3. Ignore Everything
  4. Tom Kelly
  5. Easier
  6. Like A Bird
  7. One More Time Won’t Kill You
  8. I Fucking Hate You
  9. Rain (Blake Babies Cover)
  10. Bleed It Out

Last night in advance of the release, after what must have been a very long weekend, Shamir tweeted:

And, seemingly suggesting he’s no longer affiliated with XL:

And finally, here’s the album itself:

Watch Shamir’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert from last year: