SINGLE REVIEW: Spanish On The Beach by Andy Shauf

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WRITTEN BY: Aaron Scofield

Alongside the role of musician and songwriter, Andy Shauf is also a storyteller. On September 1st, Shauf shared a new single following up his lauded 2020 album, The Neon Skyline. Love, loss, and impermanence are the major themes of the album, which over eleven tracks details a narrator’s cloudy night at the titular small-town bar, The Skyline, and delves into the dissolution of the narrator’s past relationship with a woman named Judy. Each song is an interconnected narrative, sequentially telling a story from the night at The Skyline or from the aforementioned relationship.

Over the course of writing The Neon Skyline, Shauf ended up with around 50 tracks, most of which were cut. “Spanish On The Beach” is one of these cut tracks, with the song recounting a vacation at a beachfront resort the narrator took with Judy during the relationship. In a statement accompanying the single’s release, Shauf stated that “it’s the same theme as the story [that] ended up being at The Skyline, but the narrator’s life is a little bit booze-filled,” and that “this vacation is kind of like the first stop on the way to destruction,” a sentiment clearly echoed in the single’s lyrics.

The verses are hazy and lighthearted, with simple fingerpicking and tight percussion alongside a soft and almost hypnotic tune sang by Shauf,

“You spoke in Spanish on the beach,

I tried to make up my mind whether I could understand a word you said”

Shauf’s signature arrangement of clarinets enter the track for the chorus, with the narrator delivering and repeating an emotionally jarring line equally about the present vacation and his past relationship, 

“I wished it could be permanent”

In “Spanish On The Beach,” Shauf’s world-building, storytelling, and songwriting abilities are at their peak, and fans can only hope that this is just the beginning of new releases from Shauf in 2021. 

“Spanish On The Beach” is out now via ANTI.

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