Malaysian Chinese singer-songwriter SHN (pronounced “shen”) is back with the fruits of hard work and simply living through life. Her new EP ‘shotgun’ is a concoction of dewy-eyed rawness and sentimentality that’s very Taylor Swift-esque, with perhaps a touch of Olivia Rodrigo.
The titular track reminisces about being swept up by a partner, initially thrilled by the ride, before bidding farewell to the shackles of an ultimately suffocating romance. ‘shotgun’ is close to home for many young women who’ve found themselves in a breathlessly intense relationship: ‘Suddenly I’m sitting backseat to my own life’. SHN takes the wheel and sets herself free in the uplifting anthem.
Recalling how she was unaware she was losing herself along the ride, SHN dives deeper into the memories of being childishly enamoured with someone in ‘it’s not fair, babe!’: ‘The way you spoke was a work of art / Baby, I knew you'd break my heart’. The song is similar in length and structure to ‘shotgun’, so it’s refreshing to hear a change of pace in the slower, more mellow second half of the EP. We get to hear more of SHN’s range in ‘drive slow’ where she plays her voice like a priceless instrument, conveying emotion, power, and tenderness at each appropriate moment. She keeps to the consistent metaphor of a passenger seat ride hinting at crashes, hit and runs, and dead end roads. Its usage throughout the EP allows the songs to weave the story together, creating a piece that is engaging and memorable.
SHN unleashes her final bit of magic in ‘the last song’. It leaves you with the same resolve as ‘shotgun’, but this time having pulled you through the emotions of it all, with SHN executing this perfectly in her gentle, on-the-verge-of-tears singing. It’s raw, honest, and an ode to the vulnerable young self in all of us. To be torn down and renewed is a part of coming of age; of finding one’s own way. SHN encapsulates that golden turning point in seven simple words, uttered by each one of us at some point in our youth: ‘I think I’ve gotta find myself again’.
Short but sweet, 'shotgun' is an earnest, heartfelt listen that takes you on a ride with SHN as she comes to realise she’s not where she wants to be, and takes out the tools to forge her own path.