Shamir Stands Up For The Struggling, Anxious '90's Kids'

Sep 13, 2017

When Shamir entered the ring, it was with the slick, cheeky 2014 single "On The Regular," which he followed up with the impressive dance-pop debut Ratchet. Though the album landed on many year-end lists, and Shamir himself became a rising indie-pop star, the gloss and shine soon wore off for the nascent artist. In an extensive interview with Out, he said he felt pigeonholed by the dance pop of Ratchet, which he had only been experimenting, and that he chafed at the repression of his musical opinions and instincts during the process of making the album.

As good as he may have been at it, dance-pop was not the sole container of Shamir's ambitions. "I was gonna quit music this weekend. From day 1 it was clear I was an accidental pop star," Shamir wrote in April, in the description of his lo-fi guitar rock album Hope, which he self-released after being dropped from XL Recordings.

Now, he arrives with the almost painfully relatable — for this writer, anyway — song "90's Kids," the first single from a new album Revelations, due out Nov. 3. It's a lament for the much-maligned "millennial" generation, one that's been scrutinized and criticized (avocado toast, anyone?), all the while trying to manage student debt, parental expectations, deteriorating mental health and the standard stresses of early adulthood. Shamir sums it up succinctly in the chorus: "F*** you, we out here struggling."

Shamir rounds out "90's Kids" and his defense of a generation through a video that lovingly indulges in the ostensibly millennial loves of nostalgia ­and memes. The '90s meet the '00s as memes fill a Windows 1998 desktop, lyrics fittingly emblazoned in classic white-and-black Impact font. All the classics are there: Arthur's clenched fist, Evil Kermit, confused Mr. Krabs, Salt Bae, annoyed Jean Luc Picard and more. The humor and meaning of these pop culture phenomena will be lost on many (the olds and the offline), and that's exactly the point – "90's Kids" is a song and video for those who get it, and need it.

Revelations is out Nov. 3 on Father/Daughter Records. Pre-order it here.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.