[SHEARS – ‘Pick Me Up’ single art]
By Sandy Power
Edinburgh based Singer-songwriter SHEARS has returned with her new single ‘Pick Me Up’, which eschews the dark overtones of previous releases with a chirpy and creative arrangement and toe tapping personality.
The song begins with crisply mixed stomping and clapping percussion, married with pulsing synths and SHEARS’ melodic and similarly rhythmic vocal. The arrangement broadens out with birdsong-like arpeggios tweeting in the background and a grounding bass-line.
SHEARS sings in an airier voice “You were in your element as I spent all my free time looking back”, before her more prominent vocal promptly answers “like we’re under attack”. Indeed, although this track takes a lighter musical approach, the songs lyrics delve into themes of anxiety, which have been at the forefront of a lot of people’s lives in living through the COVID-19 pandemic.
SHEARS describes her creative process on the track, “During the pandemic I was done with writing angry and sad songs,” adding, “With ‘Pick Me Up’ I wanted to bring a little slice of happiness with the music, even if the lyrics are about trying to get past feelings of anxiety and dread.”
She goes on to show her gratitude for the people who have been around her during this time, “I’m lucky to have people in my life who are super-positive and who I can talk to about anything. The song is a tribute to them and a reminder that things are rarely as bad as they seem in your head.”
This gratitude and wisdom are evident in the manner she has executed the writing and recording of the track. It has an almost Lily Allen style cheekiness but with the added beauty of harmonies which are, commendably, as neatly packed as the multi-layered work of Billie Eilish. The track still retains the electronic edge that SHEARS has developed with previous production collaborator DUNT, with bits of pitch shifting and processing that were apparent on her debut EP ‘When You’re Around’.
The song reaches its fulcrum through a breakdown, with SHEARS coming to the realisation “I’m ready for it anyway, no need to think ‘bout my mistakes”, before the light percussion, distant, staccato backing vocals and swelling synths and are replaced by a full arrangement of layered backing vocals, drums and synths. The song reaches its end point with the finality of an echoing but crisp finger-click, which is fitting for such a bright-sounding and upbeat track.
The positivity and playfulness of the music translate over into the accompanying home-made green screen music video, which stars the singer, as well as her cat, in front of various humorously placed photos and pieces of stock footage.
The track, which was written and self-produced by SHEARS and mixed by Matty Green (Dave Sitek, Dua Lipa, Hailee Steinfeld, Weezer), is a refreshing about-turn for the artist and displays her versatility as a songwriter. I am really looking forward to seeing how she develops further. Her vocal prowess and musical intelligence have the potential to take her far.
Stream ‘Pick Me Up’ on Spotify