- Gary @ BootsofUK
‘Shoulder Pads’ by Amy Jo - review
Amy Jo released her third track from her 'Songs From The Bay' EP, 'Shoulder Pads' on 10th March 2023. The EP with the reference to Morecambe Bay where she's from. The song is an ode to possibility.
“When I was growing up and navigating the world, many people assigned narrow, vague labels to my personality, ... so Shoulder Pads is my perspective on the good girl/bad boy romance trope”
Amy Jo explains that the song was inspired by the 2019 film After. The choice to title it 'Shoulder Pads' is also based on the fashion trend.
"It's a crude metaphor, but if shoulder pads can make a comeback after all those years in the closet, then why not take a chance on someone who might not be perfect for you? Or someone who represents a world you don't understand?”
The song starts off by being very descriptive "Messy brown hair, black tattoos. Driving in Daddy's Jag.
Chain round your neck, beat up shoes and a packet full of swag."
The detail could be interpreted as different trends, but it also touches on differing and polar opposite worlds (Daddy's Jab, and beat up shoes).
"Like you wrote the book, only took one look, to know you're bad news. I know it's wrong, but I won't stop me entertaining you."
It could be perceived that we're idolising or crushing on someone but upon closer scrutiny we realise that they're 'bad news'. Whilst realising this, we still have the thrill of entertaining 'the idea' of them. Only taking 'one look' to judge someone highlights the gut feeling, your intuition, something that we sometimes overlook and try to second guess.
"This shouldn't work, but you're the right kind of wrong. Two different worlds so I play along. You're the Hardin to my Tessa. So I'll cut you some slack. Coz even shoulder pads are making a comeback."
These lyrics emulate the story of the star-crossed lovers Romeo & Juliet in so much as it's two conflicting worlds, intertwined with a love story. We all know that if we love someone that much then we can look past their world, it's irrelevant, yet we're still interested to learn more about them. Hardin and Tessa are the clear references to the film 'After' and 'cut you some slack' is a reference to the tolerances we allow when we're in love. The shoulder pad reference could also be a reference to female enpowerment and authority because it's synonymous with business and power.
"Long blonde hair, I don't swear, and I haven't pierced my ears. A squeaky clean, prom Queen, as voted by my peers. Opposites attract, maybe that's a fact, from where I stood."
Personally, this verse details the innocence we all have. From not being exposed to bad language, not getting ears pierced and being dubbed a prom Queen. There's a beauty about our innocence, before it's gets tainted by life events. It's well documented that opposites attract, like Ying and Yang, and comparisons to chalk and cheese. However it's acknowledged other people may hold different opinions and the mind is still indecisive, with the use of 'maybe' and 'from where I stood'.
"I'm willing to take a chance, and mess all that up."
Perhaps an acknowledgement that when we take a chance on someone, there's a risk that we not only mess up a potential relationship, but also our own mental state, and our future ability to take risks. Equally though, the future is ours to make, it's fluid and flexible, yet not promised. It's whatever we want it to be, and we're whoever we want to become. The song then revisits the chorus.
"Swore I wouldn't go there, cos it never goes well. But the highs are worth the lows, though I never do tell."
Whilst it could be read into not going into a relationship or friendship with someone for all the trouble they can bring; It could also be perceived in a health and well-being stance, whereby you withdraw into yourself - 'wouldn't go there' because no one likes to go that deep into themselves. It must be remembered 'the highs are worth the lows' even when they don't always feel like it.
'Shoulder Pads' from the 'Songs from the Bay' EP was released 10 March 2023 so is available to stream and download now! If you're not already following Amy Jo, be it on social media, or on your music platform of choice, then you need to start.