Album of the week: Julia Shapiro – Perfect Version

Julia Shapiro’s first solo album “Perfect Version,” is the picture of self-expression, tucked right in with filmic hooks and laid back vocals.

With her band Chastity Belt, Shapiro makes music that’s angsty and wild in the best possible way, Perfect Version is much more introspective. The songs are homemade and warm, recorded in Shapiro’s flat. They feel like comfort after a bad day, and that’s just the context they were made in. In ‘Natural,’ Shapiro wonders “How can somebody be so blindly confident?/I wanna know that trick/How can you love yourself so damn much?/It isn’t natural.” She asks the same questions throughout the album, feeling out and questioning what it really means to be whole, to be the perfect version of yourself.

Though the songs don’t stray far from the spine of the muted but confident guitar hooks that Shapiro is known for even in Chastity Belt, what makes this album really special is her smooth voice and the continuity of her lyrics. The album reads like a diary entry, scratching out quintessential questions that ask why, even when you become an adult, growing pains remain.

The album ultimately doesn’t boast some fabricated happy-go-lucky answer. That uncertainty, that fatigue of having to wonder existentially is present in a way that makes her muted voice stand out like a beacon of light over a blanket of fog.

“I confront/What truly makes me happy,” she ponders in ‘A Couple Highs.’ And what that is, remains to be seen. But fans of Shapiro should be sure to wait alongside her to find out.

Perfect Version is out now on Hardly Art

Words: AnjaliDasSarma


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