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Single Review: Shiadanni “Penny Pills”

Enveloped in an icy melodicism, we find a fractured but highly enticing lead vocal courtesy of Shiadanni in the new single “Penny Pills,” her most exciting release I’ve heard so far. Although there’s no percussion in the opening bars of this track, we feel the presence of a creeping beat in the backdrop, sneaking up behind us only to take hold of the song without warning. Shiadanni is battling demons in this piece, lost in a dream that feels so much colder than anything one would assume she could conceive, and she’s bringing us along for the ride.

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/shiadanni/?hl=en

The harmonies are downright haunting in “Penny Pills,” and there isn’t a moment in which their reverberated angst isn’t washing over us with a powerful thrust normally produced by instrumental elements alone. The chamber pop influences that Shiadanni has cultivated in her career are replaced with a vague industrial tone that reminds me a lot of the late-‘80s post-punk that came to shape some of the more melodic alternative rock of the proceeding decade. It’s not retro, but this song still has the same emotionally focused centerpiece I would normally associate with a vintage era in alternative music a lot of us miss today.



I really love where Shiadanni is going with her sound, and rather than folding to the pressures that come with pursuing a career in pop music with a singing voice that is as soul-piercing as hers is, she’s giving us a clandestinely epic piece that is steeped in eccentricities with “Penny Pills.” This was made for the alternative pop faithful, and in a year that has been a little underwhelming for those of us who appreciate this genre, I think “Penny Pills” is just what critics like me needed to have full confidence in Shiadanni moving forward in the future.


Christian Vedder



About Michael Stover

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