Shamir Brings his Favorite Department Store Jams to the Dinner Party

The Las Vegas native, who released his debut LP "Ratchet" in May to rave reviews, gives us an eclectic playlist filled with mid-tempo tunes that won't make you fall asleep on your plate.

Photo Credit: RUVAN

Shamir’s androgynous voice and killer hooks landed him a record deal just out of high school. Pitchfork calls his debut album, entitled “Ratchet,” “A study in the best dance-pop of the past decade.” He’s on tour now. Here’s Shamir with a set of party tunes to play while you’re cooking up a few lengua empanadas for a friendly dinner party.


Shamir: Hey, this is Shamir, and this is my dinner party soundtrack.

Alvvays – “Party Police”

My first song would be “Party Police” by Alvvays.

I’ve actually played this at a dinner party back when I was in Vegas with my friends. Very chill, very mid-tempo song, but it’s also not too soft of a song, to, like, fall asleep on your plate [laughs].

I love to cook a lot. I kind of have, like, a very maternal spirit about me. Like, I just want to comfort people with food. So I guess I will say what’s on the menu, which would definitely be lengua empanadas. And lengua is tongue in Spanish, so, usually that throws a lot of people off, and it’s a lot of steps to cook, but it’s totally worth it.

Nico – “Chelsea Girls”

For my second song, I would play Nico with The Velvet Underground, her song “Chelsea Girl[s],” a classic.

Honestly, I just love Nico’s voice. I just love how deep it is, and her accent. If I didn’t have my own voice, I’d probably want hers.

My favorite part of the song — which is funny because it’s the part that I read that she hated — was the flute. I think the flute is so beautiful in that song. Even the way the string arrangement is… very staccato and like you’re creeping. It’s a very haunting song, and it kind of sounds like the soundtrack to a dinner party at the Addams Family’s house.

Wilco (Featuring Feist) – “You and I”

For my third song, I would pick “You and I” by Wilco and Feist.

I was working at Ross Department Stores, in the fitting room, so there was a lot of standing around just listening to whatever they played over the intercom, and that song was definitely on every rotation on the playlist.

I actually remember this one time, this one lady was in the fitting room for such a long time and I almost forgot that she was in there. So, I was singing my butt off, but eventually, she came out, and I was like, “Oh, my God!” She’s like, “Honey, you have a beautiful voice!” I was like, “Thank you!”

Shamir — “Demon”

My fourth song would definitely be “Demon” off my album “Ratchet.”

I don’t know, I guess I wanted to kind of like, make my voice sound a little bit more eerie. It’s always so weird when I’m describing my own voice because, I mean, I know it’s different, but this is the only voice I ever had, you know? I guess I just made do with what I have [laughs].