In the world of Hans Christian Anderson's fairytale "The Snow Queen," Sally Shapiro would probably play as the soundtrack. The Swedish disco electro pop darling creates songs that transform to another world, one inhibited by glittering silver disco balls and castles of ice, glimmering against each turn in her perfect, melancholy painted pop songs. My Guilty Pleasure
is a dazzling display of her signature style, at once light and airy, sparkling like a balcony decorated by Christmas lights, and then the pitch black sky and despair and emptiness, loneliness and need inherent in the solitary four and a half stars struggling to be visible above.
"Love in July," for instance, as portrayed in the music video
, is a suitable film score for an impossible to find love, tainted by optimism in its crystalline sprinkles of sounds, and an emptiness floating above it, in Shapiro's airy fairy-tale voice, the lingering spaces between the melody a powerful unspoken tragedy. "My Fantasy" is an aching dreamscape of a fantasy so distant and impossible, but convinced, aesthetically beautiful if it turned to images, the sounds themselves nearly synesthesiastic. "Let It Show" opens with a bass line hook Michael Jackson might have appreciated, but with her glossed over romance a seeming contradiction, hesitatingly tapping feet and a dark dance, "I try to explain it is the way that you smile when you look into my eyes." Her ability to recreate those heart pounding "what if" in reality in song is truly remarkable.
Then songs like "Save Your Love" is a fast paced, hair twhirling and dismissive shrug of a girl with too many prospects, a tingling disco pop song in its glamour and glitz authenticity. Shapiro progresses through her songs with a reckless energy that doesn't diminish, her touch of fantasy and ice princess charm an escapist's ideal, and with subjects of heartbroken love affairs most can easily relate to. Sentimentality coated in glitter disco dust, but with an emotional fragility beneath that turns it into more than just sugary electro delight. -Laura Yan