Single Review: Lissie – Shameless
A friend of mine once came with me at a festival to watch Lissie perform. She wasn’t really his cup of tea as an avid experimental electronica fan so I had to question him on his motives – ‘I saw her on Jools Holland’ he responded, ‘…and I love that she hadn’t dressed up, had hardly any make up and just cared about the music’. True to form, that is how Lissie appeared during that set and throughout her entire album campaign – she is a true musician that lets her songs do the talking and sees herself as little more than an outlet for them to work their magic. ‘Shameless’ serves only to confirm that mindset.
It’s almost too easy for a successful artist to look very silly whilst critiquing the lifestyle that is paying their wages but the topic that finds itself as the theme of a vast majority of sophomore records is rarely delivered as spectacularly as on ‘Shameless’. It’s lyrics are simple and believable – if anyone in music today tells you ‘I don’t want to be famous’ and expects you to believe it, it might as well be Lissie as she has actively practiced what she preaches. Her inimitable vocals are also given a lot more kick and attitude than was evident on Maurus’ breakthrough album ‘Catching a Tiger’ – though we knew she had it in her, thanks to tunes like the driving ‘Stranger’, ‘Shameless’ is the first time it has enveloped a song so successfully. The performance is dripping with sarcasm and is given a little burst of frantic frustration in the short but affecting middle eight.
The main attraction, the chorus, is expertly written. Like most things in life, true brilliance makes difficulty look easy and that is exemplified here. The sentiment, the melody and the memorable ‘so-o-o- what’ lyric all appear very simple but were surely glued together with a lot of time and effort. That the song sits nicely between pristine production and garage-band raw is a credit to the producer(s) and those behind the scenes – Lissie has the kind of voice and vibe that lends itself to the latter but given a touch of the former has opened doors for many more listeners to feed through and enjoy the merits of her music.
Ironically, with ‘Shameless’, Lissie has given us a song that may well make her into a household name. It has the honesty and hooks that flavoured her debut release but thanks to it’s enormous chorus, sing-a-long catchiness and Lissie’s all-american twang, her edges have been rounded, intentionally or unintentionally, allowing her to slip into the mainstream and become the Sheryl Crow of a new generation.
Words: Simon McMurdo