The history that cements itself within MTV Unplugged is colossal, as is its legacy, so it’s without a doubt that I felt very honoured to be a part of the audience for such a monumental event as it took over Melbourne’s Meat Market last week. Also, let’s just get this out there now – I’m a big fan of Amy Shark.
Following the release of her stunning debut album Love Monster earlier this month, Amy took to Twitter to warn people that they may find some of the tracks “triggering,” seemingly followed by a number of people describing the record as “heavy,” to the point that it “brought them to tears” like that’s a bad thing.. But is the fact that these songs are so vulnerable, honest and raw, to the point where they’re able to stop you in your tracks and bring you to tears, not a beautiful sign of the emotional power of music?
In my opinion, Love Monster is exactly what the pop world needs right now and I’m proud to admit that I am one of those people who in fact continues to cry upon listening to this record, just as I did witnessing Shark’s MTV Unplugged performance, as she effortlessly stripped back various tracks to their simplistic essence. *Note, you’ll be able to witness it for yourselves come September 16th, airing on MTV at 6pm – yes this is a reminder to add it to your programming schedules right now.
In a week that consisted of headlining Splendour In The Grass and Love Monster debuting at #1 on the ARIA Album Charts, surpassing the likes of Drake’s Scorpion, it was clear that MTV had picked the best artist to kickstart the Unplugged series in Australia, alongside indie-rock favourites Gang Of Youths. Much of the fourteen tracks that make up Love Monster were undoubtedly written in an acoustic setting originally, making the smooth indie-pop tones and cinematic setting even more magnificent.
Show day, my adrenaline levels were high and what I captured of soundcheck solidified what I already knew, all of the attendees were in for one very special treat. There was certainly an undeniable feeling of adoration radiating from the crowd as you walked into the venue, quickly reciprocated by Amy whose connection with the live audience was palpable.
I’m yet to find the words to best describe the show, but in terms of Amy’s songwriting and storytelling talents, the lady seated next to me summed these up perfectly – “Every lyric explains all of the feelings I’ve never been able to express,” and that, in a nutshell, is Love Monster. Every emotional punch connects. Shark’s ability to articulate refined moments in relationships and distrust and disparity between feelings, produces intimate lyrics that are both personal, communal and visually haunting in the best of ways.
In a world full of streaming, singles and short attention spans, it has been a long time since an entire full-length album has left me in awe, both pulling at my heartstrings and making me want to dance. But with each song comes the greater want to go back to the beginning and re-listen. So my advice? If you only listen to one album from start to finish this year.. Make it Love Monster and thank me later. Because as Shark says throughout the opening track, I Got You – “If we don’t do this today, There goes a day..”
So prepare yourself for Amy’s MTV Unplugged performance, go see her live, and for god’s sake.. cry! The purpose of music is to make you feel, so whatever emotions you may feel, that means this record is serving its purpose. So, yes it is heavy, but it’s also mesmerising in a way that will have you pressing that repeat button for months on end..
Amy’s MTV Unplugged performance will air at 6pm on September 16 and tickets are on sale now for her Love Monster NZ Tour dates throughout September.