Stylishly executed with a marvelous vibrato that is slowly but surely becoming her trademark, Kloë Shinn’s all new single “My Own” has got critics across the country and abroad talking, and just one listen to its elegant, pendulum-like beats will give you a pretty good idea as to why. Shinn is an inextinguishable flame in this song, burning as bright as her colorful palate will allow her to amidst a muted storm of melodic ribbonry the likes of which push the boundaries of mainstream pop music to the very brink of modernism. Try as some might, you’d be hard pressed to find another pop single as evocative as this one is – even in a season loaded with eccentrics and experimentalism.
“My Own” at its core is percussive club fodder with a provocative, smart lyrical bend. As previously stated, the beats capture our attention right off the bat and lead us on a sonic journey into the heart of the dancefloor over the course of some three minutes and fifty seconds of playing time. Shinn lays down her verses with a reserved ambience that is replicated by the striking keyboard later on in the chorus. The words blend into the gravity of the rhythm, but never is the narrative lost in the beefy translation of unspeakable emotions.
The grooves in this song are as big and bold as they come in vocal-centric pop music, but Kloë Shinn is the one driving the tempo with her lyricism, not the drums. If anything, the actual drumming in this song is more of an afterthought than a focal point; the beat grows out of the utterance of Shinn’s words, which start off patiently enough but become heated and agile by the time we reach the finish line in the final chorus. Engaged listening is a term thrown around a lot in music reviews, but this single actually embodies its true meaning.
As blistering a master mix as Shinn employs in this track, the music isn’t overly aggressive, even when she’s driving us home in the last minute of the song. Sure, the bassline starts to press hard against the studio walls in the first stanza and there’s even a moment in the closing bars of “My Own” where it feels like the drums might make a play for the paramount role they were denied earlier on, but the adeptly controlled EQ ensures that none of the instrumentation ever gets too over the top or virtuosic. In an age of overindulgence not that different from the 1980’s, a track like this is refreshing to say the least.
Kloë Shinn’s “My Own” has a rather self-explanatory title when you give its immensely magnetizing music a couple of spins and come to understand the sort of statement that Shinn is trying to make with its release. She’s introducing us to the ultimate amalgamation of her influences and previously unvarnished songcraft, and it’s something that she can legitimately call her own. It might not fit into the boxy parameters of what the pop establishment would consider easy to market, but for my money it doesn’t get much better than what she’s delivering here. Satisfying for the club kids and stirring for more intellectual listeners, “My Own” is one of 2018’s best gems.