Shura – forevher
Shura's second album is a more mature comeback for the Londoner, forming an interesting conversation with the glitz and glamour of her debut, Nothing's Real
There is infinitely more pressure surrounding the release of a sophomore album – will it live up to the first? Were they even that good in the first place? Were we all just caught up in the haze of the hype?
Alexandra Lilah Denton's comeback album as Shura, forevher, definitely lives up to the hype of its predecessor. In conversation with her 2016 debut, Nothing’s Real, which spoke to heartbreak and confusion, forevher has matured, taken those deeply painful experiences and learnt from them. It’s less glitzy, shiny and shimmery, but this plays to her advantage, her matured sensibilities coming to the fore.
forevher is about the first stages of a blossoming relationship, the borderline between seeing someone and being committed to them, and all the anxieties and excitement that this entails. For Shura, this relationship is long-distance, hence there are a lot of references to and metaphors about flying: flyin’, BKLYNLDN, and skyline, be mine are the more obvious ones. Rather than labouring a point, the flying metaphors become emblematic of the soaring highs and striking intensity of new love, best summed up in the lyrics: 'There’s gonna be turbulence'.
From the album’s opener proper, side effects, it's clear that this is Shura at her finest. Throughout the album, she queers pop, giving it depths of emotion that the shiny veneer of heteronormative pop tropes lack. The close harmonies on tommy mimic the physical closeness that Shura doesn’t have in this long-distance relationship; the Elton John-like piano stabs on forever infuse the track with a historical awareness of Shura’s queer pop forefathers; and the music video for lead single religion (u can lay your hands on me) is everyone’s gay nun fantasy.
forevher is an excellent comeback from Shura, proving that she is more than the sum of her capacity to go viral.
Listen to: the stage, control, side effects