With his lyrical wit at its greatest, Andy Shauf creates a whole story within four minutes on “Try Again,” providing listeners with a cheery tale of ex-lovers.
Listen: “Try Again” – Andy Shauf
The last two albums of Andy Shauf (The Bearer of Bad News and The Party) gave him the notoriety he carries today: a story-teller nonpareil with worlds of bleakness, apathy, and hints of charm. His stories often revolve around lonesome drunks, regretful party-goers, and the heartbroken character. With “Try Again,” a tonal shift has occurred. A cheery atmosphere surrounds this awkward exchanging of words between two former lovers that doesn’t leave listeners with despair but rather smiles that will join them all throughout the day.
Delightful and bright melodies open up the track that is filled with claps, lively guitar strums, and percussive beats that keep a steady tempo that is carried throughout the song. “Somewhere between drunkenness and chivalry, I hold the door open and let her pass through,” Shauf sings, beginning the story of two individuals simply enjoying each other’s company. As the track continues, Shauf sings of playful banter and laughable moments that, if anything, provide a warmth despite their past relationship. However, this is what he excels at: creating vignettes that are filled with depth, emotion, and nuance. The characters in his stories are fleshed out and relatable, allowing for vivid imagery to enter the minds of listeners, making for picturesque dreamscapes one would be hard-pressed to want to leave.
Somewhere between drunkenness and sincerity
I smile at her for just a little too long
Charlie’s drinking wine, Judy’s laughing at him
She says “I forget that you’re such a fancy guy”
He tips his hat, says “M’lady, do you come here often?”
I swear I’ve seen them do this one a hundred times before
Near the halfway point, only guitar strums join Shauf with his signature mumbled yet endearing vocals. It’s a brief pause that spotlights Shauf as he sings “She puts her hand on the sleeve of my coat. She says ‘I’ve missed this.’ I say, ‘I know, I’ve missed you, too.’ She says ‘I was actually talking about your coat.’” The charm factor is at its highest, and Shauf is leading this charge with grace and poise. At the track’s end, the spotlight returns to shine its light on Shauf. With only the guitar joining him once more, Shauf begins to carry out listeners and close this story with sincerity and beauty.
Somewhere between drunkenness and jealousy
I watch her talking to some old friend
What a reunion, he recognized her across the room
How many years could there be to catch up on?
And somewhere between drunkenness and honesty
I make a silent toast to the things that I do and don’t miss
Accompanying the song is the music video that is a stop-motioned filled wonderland of wonder and magic, taking the reins on the jaunty melodies and going even higher with it. In a statement, the directors, Gérald Fleury and Timo Hateau of Mizotte & Cabécou explained their process as “Rather than illustrating the storyline, we imagined our own offbeat tale like a parallel to the song. Design, motion, colors and atmosphere are influenced by the pop and childish dream world of 70’s French animation (Chapi Chapo, The Magic Roundabout).” Their vision was captured gorgeously, providing the perfect complement to the track and elevating it to new heights.
It’s almost inexplicable at how stunning Andy Shauf is at his storytelling abilities. The skill he possesses is unmatched, and “Try Again” is further proof of it with its enthralling four-minute story surrounded by buoyant and jovial soundscapes. It’s clear Shauf is going to make yet another impactful album, making the wait for his new album Neon Skyline that much more aching, but if “Try Again” is anything to go off, the wait will be well worth it.
Neon Skyline releases January 24 via Anti- records.
Listen: “Try Again” – Andy Shauf
? © Colin Medley
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