My Guilty Pleasure

Sally Shapiro makes club music, but not the kind that you would ever hear in a club. Her records sound like disco's mental echoes, the hazy, washed-over sounds that slowly fade from your brain on the long subway ride home. It's the soundtrack to post-Dionysiac introspection.

 

My Guilty Pleasure, Shapiro's second album, sounds a lot like her first. Two years ago, working with a producer named Johan Agebjörn, the Swedish pop singer released Disco Romance, a long, synthesized swoon that turned into one of the year's nicest surprises. She was supposed to be painfully shy, and even now that she's doing interviews and the occasional live show her real name remains a mystery. Of course, "press shy" can be a great press strategy, and the two albums of remixes that followed the release of Disco Romance--both stuffed with tastemaking contributors like The Juan MacLean--suggest that Shapiro and Agebjörn know exactly what they're doing.

Shapiro sings to absent lovers--a sinuous track called "Love in July" sounds like it was made in the Arctic Circle--and this kind of romantic nostalgia has its counterpart in the cultural nostalgia that frames the whole project. My Guilty Pleasure is more or less tribute music, a misty-eyed look back at early-80s Italo Disco. That's fine, of course, and much of the album is gorgeous. But when did dance music, of all things, start reminiscing about the good old days? When did it become so easy to live in the past?

 

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