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Shura (England): Nothing's Real [Digipak]

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Born in the Nineties and in love with the bubble beats and synth clouds of the Eighties, she builds her music as a glossy shell around detailed dissections of missed connections."

NME (Magazine) - "`What's It Gonna Be?' makes the capriciousness of young love sound thrilling, whereas its neighbouring track `Touch' is a gem of a torch song that bears the pained voice of experience."

Paste (magazine) - "Shura is one of many artists still writing Madonna's obituary, with a sound that harkens back to the True Blue era's 'Open Your Heart' and 'Where's The Party.'"

Pitchfork (Website) - "[S]he's at the vanguard of a scene of young queer pop stars who are updating the '80s model of self-sufficient, fully liberated mainstream pop....NOTHING'S REAL offers a fresh vision for pop's new reality."

Clash (magazine) - "Previously heard tracks still stand up as pop juggernauts but there's an obvious growth that has happened during the two-year wait; sonically and lyrically, Shura is at her most urgent and incisive."

Album Notes

When Shura released her breakthrough track "Touch" in 2014, fans of her gauzy update of '80s pop and R&B immediately wanted more. Though 2015's White Light EP offered some tantalizing new songs, Shura kept listeners waiting another year for her first full-length. Fortunately, the results were worth it: Nothing's Real boasts richer songwriting and wider-ranging sounds than might have been expected. Where her earlier work was so atmospheric it threatened to float away, on Nothing's Real she grounds her fantasies with sounds that are often sleeker than those of her influences and contemporaries. Her updates on the past sound fresher than ever, whether she's borrowing from Madonna and Kylie in their respective primes on the glittery title track, or channeling some of Laura Branigan's chugging drama on "Make It Up." Similarly, Shura imbues her romantic daydreams with just enough truth to make them sting a little. "I'd rather lose it all for you/Than regret things I didn't do," she sings on "Tongue Tied," and it feels like a mission statement for the rest of the album (as well as anyone else who's head over heels). "What's It Gonna Be?" fizzes like first love even though Shura braces herself for the worst on the hook: "If you're gonna let me down/Let me down slow." And when she sings "You're just a fiction/Someone that I made up" on "What Happened to Us?", a heart playing tricks on itself has rarely sounded so joyous. The previously released songs serve as reminders why Nothing's Real was so anticipated. "Touch" and "2Shy" remain brilliant, soft-focus pop songs about love dreams so delicate that singing about them too loudly could destroy them, while "Indecision" and the expansive finale "White Light" bridge these tracks with the rest of the album. As ephemeral and powerful as a crush, Nothing's Real marks Shura as the kind of smart pop star the 2010s need. ~ Heather Phares


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