Amy Shark performs “Adore”; illustrates a new brand of cool

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The singer and producer known as Amy Shark (real name Amy Billings) performed on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” for the first time. The singer performed her song “Adore.” Shark’s approach to the song is evidence of the singer participating in a new type of cool that finds even indie pop singers evincing a kind of urbanity that was unheard of a decade or so ago.

About Amy Shark

The singer’s career is not terribly long, only dating back to about 2014. However, what she has done in that time is impressive. Her single “Adore” was released in 2016. The song has performed well in the singer’s native Australia and is growing in popularity here.

She began her career as a performer on YouTube. By 2016, she had earned Pop Song of the Year for “Golden Fleece.” The award had been given at the Queensland Music Awards. For its part, “Adore” garnered attention from Australian radio station, Triple J, and has worked its way up to No. 2. Other accolades have come the singer’s way, from Apple and other entities. Shark also has a song on the soundtrack to the coming of age film, “Love, Simon.”

“Adore” by Amy Shark

There is something of a new age Dorothy Parker in the lyrics of “Adore.” The writer’s poetry discusses romantic situations in ways that are without sentimentality and that is what Shark manages to do in “Adore.”

The lyrics reveal a narrator who wants the world to conform to her wishes so that she can have the alone time she craves with the object of her affection. The narrator discusses the dresses she wears so that she can spend time with her beloved, and how she looks walking down the street alone, her purse hanging off her arm. She is upset that the night is over, and she has to walk home alone. The frustration is clear.

On Tuesday night, March 13, 2018, Shark performed the song on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” Visually, the set was moody and atmospheric. The entire stage looked awash in shades of bluish gray and black. Shark herself stood out in a white t-shirt and black jeans.

Hollow, heavy guitar riffs sound like the melancholy that accompanies the falling night, when people are either making a connection or not. Shark gives life to this ambiance with her lyrics about a night that went well but perhaps didn’t last long enough.

She wants to do a number of mundane activities “just to adore you.” She would also like for everyone on the street to go away so that she and the object of her affection can be alone. The idea might sound a bit immature, but it makes the point – – the narrator literally wants to be alone with this person.

The main guitar sounds are supported by a thudding drumbeat that keeps the song’s slow pace. What sounds like a steel guitar sends up a comet of sound every once in a while to add texture to the song.

Much can be said about Shark’s delivery. She sings “Adore” with a style that has become popular as of late – – a female singer performs in a lower register. The diction isn’t always clear, and then the dynamics change to a rap-oriented approach, right down to the thrusting arms and knees pumping up to the chest, while the singer slouches.

This performance trope does work to add necessary tension to the song. The style is also a way of breaking a stereotype about the way female singers perform. Maybe. It could also be the result of a stylized urbanity that has worked its way into pop and alternative performances in recent years. Whatever the reason for it, it works.

Even those brand new to Shark can appreciate the mood-creation she achieves. The difficult to hear sometimes lyrics seem to play into the theme of “Adore” wherein the narrator seems unable to just come out and say what she wants to the person she has spent the evening with.

The song “Adore” succeeds like other works of art that manage to take audiences out of their worlds and into that of the artist.

 

 

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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