Amy Shark made a name for herself after bursting into global consciousness with her single “Adore” in 2016, but I want to talk a little bit about her fledgling career before she could stand behind her pillars of security that come with brandishing such public acclaim (no. 2 on Triple J Hottest 100!).
Born and bred in the Gold Coast, Shark (previously Amy Billings) led the life of an undiscovered artist throughout her twenties. Picking and prodding at original music, working shifts as a video editor for the Gold Coast Titans, and playing cover gigs to stay afloat and also try to fund some studio time. A lifestyle she herself describes as “soul destroying”, suppressing her latent musical talent for the respectable purposes of staying alive. Such is the dilemma of unrecognised artistry.
And thus is was not for some time swirling her fingers in musical ideas that she committed herself to a release. From this fray of frustration and business her first single tentatively emerged, Spits on Girls. And it was brilliant. The track was resplendent of all the unchained vigour of youth with a thousand unchecked ideas bubbling inside. Skipping her way through male chauvinism, romance (which has come to characterise the entire pop genre she finds herself in), and drug abuse from verse to chorus, she doesn't shy from confronting topics which might occupy another songwriter for an entire album.
Her entrance to the musical arena (albeit not under the scrutiny of the massive following she now demands) begins with her calmly singing “don't be the boy that spits in girls, everybody hates that guy, that'll be the reason why, that'll be the reason why”. This preludes the tone of the rest of the song, and indeed much of her later career, jarring us into attention. Her lyrics throughout represent her own highly refined thoughts, cultivated and nurtured throughout her extended writing period into neat and powerful poetry. From here she doesn't lose any momentum, continuing to build with “Kill off the character, what'd she say? what the f*ck would she know anyway? why would I even buy a new dress, just to impress”. Indeed why? A question dejectedly raised by so many, but rarely wrapped in such elegant words.
Other elements are delicately layered over the song’s persistent guitar refrain, developing a wave-like quality that seems to wash over you. It eventually evolves from its organic body percussion rhythm to a more assertive and resounding drum line. Finally the tension subsides, and the song begins to fragment. This fragmentation is accompanied by the repetition of “if you like your life stay off the drugs, if you like the drugs, share them with celebrities”, leading the music to dissolution (I'm sorry, I can offer no explanation of this line, you'll have to fend for yourselves on that front).
The song is even complimented by its own music video, self recorded and directed. It reflects her love for filmmaking that she has fostered since high school, which persevered even through her tedious part time occupation of sports documentation (with the Gold Coast Titans).
Spits on girls is a gem of raw and exuberant songwriting. It is a mystery why it never attained the soaring recognition I retrospectively attest it deserved. Thankfully, she has continued songwriting, and pursuing her creative dreams, and her music has accumulated the regard it merits. She has since released an EP, various singles, and dropped her first full album Love Monster earlier this month