(Photo Credit - Matt Draper)
Advance Review - Shopping: All or Nothing (February 7, 2020)
The bass, drum and guitar in “Trust In Us,” the first song on Shopping’s upcoming album All or Nothing, immediately talks to the listener. Even without the lyrics, I could put Shopping in the Post-Punk arena, but only because I know this is a new album. If I heard it on a playlist, I might think they were a band from the late seventies or early eighties, one that loved the punk sound but was searching for a cleaner and more professional approach. I guess that is the true difference of punk and post-punk; in the eyes of the former, professionalism would be considered a flaw.
As I stated earlier, Shopping sounds like clean punk from years ago. With only three musicians, the sound is not as layered as some of their punk and/or post-punk counterparts, but before you think differently, let me state, THIS IS NOT A CRITICISM; it is merely an objective observation. I actually like that I can hear the lyrics and am drawn to them because I believe it is the focus of the band. They are making clear statements and to me, it seems they have a very honest and uplifting feel. Ok, so maybe that is another difference between punk and post-punk; the latter is focused and uses less of an anarchy theme. Yes, they are still speaking against a heteronormative society and system, but I do not feel like I am being screamed at. Instead, I find All or Nothing to be well thought out and logical, art as a form of education instead of protest. Let me pull out some song lines for examples.
“Trust In All:” “You’re breaking down around me/And I’m picking up the pieces.” Even though Trump is the president and these terrible alt-right groups think they have the power, it feels like a desperate attempt. And when the old ideals and notions fall apart, a new way and much needed acceptance with be there to pick up the pieces.
“Initiative:” “Why can’t you show some initiative?” Yes, Shopping. It is as simple as that.
“Follow Me:” “I’m sure you have your reasons/I’ll keep them all in mind.” Even though the narrator is being watched, they know they can teach the ignorant something if the ignorant continues to watch. (Although I am not as sure the ignorant cares to learn.)
“No Apologies:” “Looking around, around/for your apology.” “This time is useless.” Yeah. This does not even have to be political. It is one of those life lessons. Sometimes you have to give up waiting. If it happens, it happens.
“For Your Pleasure:” “What you see is what you get.” Simple enough.
“About You:” “Just an illusion/it’s all for show.” “We make the same mistakes all over/and again and again and again.” This is one of the big statements on the album, and it does not have to be owned by a queer group. The idea carries over to racism, sexism, and capitalism. Ugh.
“Lies:” “Take it/leave it/I will believe it when I see it.” This is a narrator who is tired of empty words.
“Expert Advice:” “You keep selling me the same old story/You walk out of there before I can say a word/You keep selling me the same old story/like it makes no difference.” Again. Just like “Lies” and “About You.” As a society we need to learn from history. Not just spout out about it. And for me, this goes to the heart of our society: the home and schools. We are not teaching children the appropriate values. Imagine if we focused on the well being of all the citizens of our country and world, instead of making excuses and lies.
“Body Clock:” “What am I waiting for?/I think I know what I have to do/I got it all to live for/and nothing to prove.” This is a call to one’s self. I need to change instead of expecting others to change.
“All or Nothing:” “Threefold it’s coming back to you.” Shopping ends the album with a little Karma talk.
All or Nothing is in the lyrics. They are on the nose because the problem lies right before our eyes. The attitudes addressed in this album are circular, and people see and hear them over and over. Bravo, Shopping for continuing to bring it to light. As a world community, we cannot stop speaking out, and All or Nothing is an album that will continue to connect and bring together people.
Final Thought: Hey LCD Soundsystem, please tour with this band.