Finally, pop music that rises to the call of our extraordinary global moment. On “Holiday Destination,” Nadine Shah decries the migrant crisis on Europe’s Mediterranean shores and the blind eye turned by first-world tourists. The song is both hypnotic and jarring, its supple groove punctuated by a discordant riff and Shah’s refrain, “How you gonna sleep tonight?”
This is the title track to Nadine Shah’s powerful new album, Holiday Destination, which further explores calamity and discord in the present era of civil war, media disinformation, humanitarian crisis, resurgent nativism, and the challenges to an adequate response. Shah’s voice is commanding and righteous, particularly on the forceful “Out The Way,” while elsewhere she conveys our understandable sense of confusion, fear, and thirst for hope (the latter embodied on the excellently titled “Mother Fighter”). Global reportage transmitted via globally sourced sounds as well as Nadine Shah’s instinct for ass-kicking rock, Holiday Destination brings to mind ambitious albums like Talking Heads’ Remain In Light and PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake — an obvious contender for the “best albums of 2017” list.
A sociology professor living in upstate New York, Leonard Nevarez is patiently waiting until his kids are old enough for a family roadtrip to Maryland Deathfest. He blogs at musicalurbanism.org and is writing a book about Martha & the Muffins and the late 70s/early 80s downtown Toronto music scene.