The best part about listening to Chelsea Shag is hearing all of her influences collide and intertwine. This has been true since the songstress unleashed her first single and video for “Us Kids” in early 2016. The visuals, which show Shag cutting loose in the studio over a sugary sweet vocal melody, humanizes the young songwriter, as she and her band bang out the recording of the track. The song itself is all over the place, and I mean that as a compliment — the combination of horns, synth, acoustic guitars, and backup singers form a perfect canvas for her sparkling vocals and electrifying guitar work, which culminates with her shredding her white Stratocaster to pieces with a thunderous solo.
Meanwhile, her second video, “New Perfume,” looks and sounds like it could have been playing in Studio 54 back when Steve Rubell was still causing a ruckus in New York City. The track’s irrepressible dance pop sensibility marked new sonic territory for Shag, but her soaring vocal chops and another impressive solo helped connect her two singles together.
For her latest cut, “One Kiss,” Shag joins forces with renowned London producer Stefan Skarbek, whose resume boasts collaborative efforts with Lily Allen, Basement Jaxx, and the late Amy Winehouse. Relying on playful synths and programmed drums to accompany her stellar voice, the track retains the buoyant pop overtones of her previous work while relying much heavier on electronic production.
Released earlier this month, the single’s visual counterpart is equally mesmerizing: four different couples of various races, color, and sexual orientation are bathed in soft white and purple lights as they kiss, hug, and stare at one another longingly. The exquisite lyrics paint a picture of passion and yearning for another person who has no idea how you feel about them, and finally having it come to fruition. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen now / But you know I’m for it,” Shag sings right before launching into the chorus, which preaches that “One kiss can change the dynamics.”
The premise of the song and video is simple yet timeless: love is faceless, genderless, and doesn’t cater to anyone. So if you don’t take the chance to tell someone how you feel, you don’t have anyone to blame but yourself.
Chelsea Shag will perform on Wed., May 31 at Troubadours 2.0 at Eddie’s Attic. Also performing are DAYSHAWNx and Kameron Corvet. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10-14. All ages.