Shamir has always been a bit of a contradiction. Ever since achieving viral stardom with his 2014 hip-house single “On the Regular,” the Philly-based songwriter has been deconstructing the formulas that earned him praise in the past and returning with left-turn records ranging from post-punk to lo-fi grunge to slacker-country, each one certain to piss off a faction of the fanbase he accumulated nearly a decade ago. I guess it makes sense, then, that his new album directly addressing his queer identity was given a title that bucks any expectations you may have based on that information: Heterosexuality.
As has become the norm since that 2014 debut, the new album is a tidal wave of sounds and ideas fused together from disparate influences and contrasting genres. Two tracks into Heterosexuality we get “Cisgender,” a booming, five-minute track which hints at dubstep’s bygone wubbings before opening up into the type of epic arrangements you hear on the local ’80s adult contemporary station. By the next track, you’re immediately bludgeoned by a Nine Inch Nails industrialist instrumental before Shamir’s voice starts rapping bars far outside the lyrical wheelhouse of Trent Reznor.
With all these jumbled influences in mind, we asked Shamir to put together a playlist of the tracks he took inspiration from on the new album, which sees cult lo-fi group Beat Happening alongside present-day pop monoliths like FINNEAS and BLACKPINK’s ROSÉ, Nicolás Jaar’s Against All Logic project abutting the moody new wave of Echo & the Bunnymen. Stream the whole playlist below, and pre-order Heterosexuality—out this Friday via AntiFragile Music—here.
The Raincoats, “Off Duty Trip”
Palmolive is one my absolute favorite drummers, and she's at the height of her powers on this song. The drums are beautifully primal.
Against All Logic, “If You Can't Do It Good Do It Hard”
In a very different way the drums in this song are also beautifully primal. I also love the Lydia Lunch sample.
Beat Happening, “Bewitched”
Most people know I'm a Beat Happening stan (I have a K Records tattoo). I love how this song is equal parts dark and simple in an almost adolescent kinda way.
I think Scrawl is an incredibly underrated band. This song has one of my absolute favorite riffs.
Echo & the Bunnymen, “Seven Seas”
I mean, who doesn't love Echo & the Bunnymen? If you don't like Echo & the Bunnymen don't talk to me.
Velocity Girl, “Pretty Sister”
This might be my favorite Velocity Girl song. I love how lo-fi the production is and how vicious the guitars are after the chorus.
The Stone Roses, “I Wanna Be Adored”
Not much to say about this one other than it’s literally one of the best songs ever made. This is a hill I will die on.
Gracie Abrams, “I miss you, I'm sorry”
Gracie is one of the new artist I'm always excited about. This song is absolutely gorgeous.
ROSÉ, “On the Ground”
This is my favorite out of all the BLACKPINK solo singles. ROSÉ is extremely powerful and talented.
Arlo Parks, “Eugene”
Arlo is an absolute angel and deserves all her success. I cannot wait to see what she does next.
This song is so very vibey, it'll always be my quarantine jam.
FINNEAS, “The 90s”
Obviously FINNEAS is already goated, I'm always happy when he gets a moment to shine.