sh is a brand-new artist on the indie scene, a self-produced musician with a lot to offer. Dropping an EP before any singles, he makes an impressive debut, delivering on instrumentals, lyrics, and production in an unexpectedly sleek manner. love me or not is the story of a love that burns and smolders like a flame, and continues to linger like smoke even after its passing, and is presented in a package of four unexpected earworms.
The opener is “love me or not,” an atmospheric track built with strings and piano. It’s a poppy song about love that hints at unrequitedness and impending heartbreak, but the sound is hopeful and confident like the lyrics. Each chorus swells as the filtered, layered, whispering vocals (somewhat reminiscent of eAeon in delivery) gain strength in the declaration of love. Frankly, it’s a perfect sampling of sh’s sound as well as something of a thesis statement emotionally for the EP:
“You keep taking me higher
And I’m waiting to fall
Into my own hell
I was fine with that
Cuz love me or not I am yours forever
Love me or not love me or not
Love me or not baby I surrender
Love me or not love me or not”
“hibernation song” is a touch moodier than the previous track, with a less hopeful, emptier electronic soundscape. Following the hinted unrequitedness of this new love, sh sings about lying dormant in wait rather than letting go of their beloved. The track is sad but not depressing, not allowing anyone to fall into an emotional funk over their situation. Whenever the mood in sound or lyrics begin to take a downturn, sh picks it back up again,
“Well, I’m ready to fall
I’m ready to breathe
I’m ready to love
When you want me
when you want me yeah
I’m ready for me
I’m ready for spring
I’m ready for you
When you want me”
The third track, “phoenix,” has more outright pop elements, leaning into an EDM- or house-adjacent sound. It features heavy reverb and spunky lyrics delivered with stronger vocals, making it quite the earworm. It’s seemingly less lyrically dedicated to the overall theme, although it does allude to fire like the previous tracks do.
I found myself humming this song to myself throughout the day after I listened to it for the first time, unable to get the chorus out of my mind. The track is bittersweet, an emotional high that seemingly is coming at a cost. It’s unclear if the relationship has worked out, but it doesn’t seem like it – and in lieu of that, a reinvention is in order.
“Rise rise I keep pressing rewind
You tell me that I should resign
But I burn for you I burn for you I
Just keep me high
While I die
And I rise like a phoenix
I rise like a phoenix”
Finally, there’s “ghost (you never leave my mind)” which is touted as the title track. As the title would suggest it is melancholy and longing, far from a happy conclusion to sh’s tale of love. Although it may have been reciprocated eventually, it didn’t work out, and the memory is haunting. Its soundscape is built up in subtle layers and leaves something new to be discovered with each listen. The end of the track is repetitive, as though sh is trapped within and consumed by the heartbreak and can’t stop thinking about it, spiraling into a memory that can only serve to depress.
“You never leave my mind
So I’ll never let you
Now that you’re a ghost
Never let you go”
Throughout the EP, sh delivers catchy songs constructed with deceptively minimal instrumentals and soft but powerful harmonies. Although it feels far from the work of a beginner, there still seems to be a bright future ahead, full of growth for sh if he chooses to embrace it and continue releasing music.
However, with his somewhat minimal online presence, it’s hard to say what may be on the horizon. Regardless, this EP stands either as a strong start for a musical career, or a gem of a one-off.