There’s depths to Jay Cooper’s ‘Shallow Anthem’

Sydney producer and singer JAY COOPER has announced his return with ‘Shallow Anthem’, a late-night alt-R&B ode to the self-excavating artist which also serves as the lead single off his forthcoming EP, Interim, due for release later this year.

‘Shallow Anthem’ arrives a year-and-a-bit since Cooper dropped his previous JAYSWAYS moniker and relocated from his home studio in Sydney to North America. According to him, the track is “about the place in-between where you’ve been and where you know you can be. I guess it’s the bridge/tunnels to your self-realisation and purpose”. “‘Shallow Anthem’ is how I’ve been feeling during this relocation, holding so much music back, but it’s time to let things go”, he continues, “it’s for those who stay up, so full of ideas waiting to see light”.

‘Shallow Anthem’ defies its name, with a submerged, aquatic beat and layered vocals that seems to stretch to endless depths. But it’s the symbiosis between production and lyrics that really makes the track stand out. A lot of producers also happen to sing, deploying their vocals as another layer or texture of sound to add to their productions; the focus is always meant to stay on the production. Which is totally fine, by the way. But for Cooper, throughout ‘Shallow Anthem’, neither the vocals nor the production function in service of the other in terms of meaning-making.

“Words can’t fix this thing now it’s broken / Not even poetic justice”, Cooper declares in his fragile croon at the start of the track, before spending the rest of ‘Shallow Anthem’ trying to fix it with his words anyway. The track, by the way, is broken, a fragmented, cluttered beat full of odd incursions of tinkling piano and warped electronics that spends the entirety of its runtime attempting to put itself back together again. “Need to slow these voices down, somehow”, he continues, as these fragments almost overwhelmingly compete for space and attention in the background and Cooper’s dreamy vocals layer atop one another. It all works to give ‘Shallow Anthem’ these restless energy, an agitated but inspired yearning that itches away at you below the surface, a jittery leg unable to sit still, a young artist unable to do the same.

“It’s about time that these floodgates come open / Cause I can’t get to sleep without it”, Jay sings. ‘Shallow Anthem’ sounds just like that: the floodgates finally giving way as everything rushes into Jay Cooper’s music; the slow, contented exhalation afterwards.

IMAGE via. twntythree

Words by KYLE FENSOM

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