According to Tash Sultana’s new single ‘James Dean’, 2023 is the year of cutting out the toxicity in your life and not looking back.
In the new song, released March 13, Tash favors the chill indie sound, contrasted by heavy lyricism about knowing your self worth and realizing the fake ones around you. The song speaks to looking back on past memories, and while the memories may be good, removing the rose-colored sunglasses reveals that the nostalgia can quickly fades away. This follows Sultana’s 2021 sophomore album Terra Firma, which reached #1 on the ARIA Album Charts, and several MTV Unplugged live versions released in 2022.
Ambient guitar tones streak throughout the track, filling out the clean and mellow sound. It does not feature any horns or brass, which can be found in several other Tash Sultana songs. The stripped down indie bedroom pop allows for some easy listening, and can be a suggestion to the sound of their upcoming EP, planned for a release later this year through Tash’s own label Lonely Lands Records.
“James Dean” is also a testament to Sultana’s growth as an artist. While the song features many of the thought provoking elements and good energy that fans have come to love about Sultana’s music, there is a newfound maturity to the lyrics and the overall sound. The track feels like a natural progression for the artist, with a more refined touch that still manages to capture the raw emotion that has made Sultana such a beloved figure in the indie music scene. Dealing with toxic people and complex relationships can be tricky to craft into a song, and this piece is another testament to Tash’s incredible writing talent, with lyrics like;
“I severed ties with things that serve me no purpose anyway…
…and i kissed the sky cause there’s no looking back from where we came.”
Tash says “I actually wrote ‘James Dean’ in December 2021 when I took another trip falling off the face of the earth—I feel like that’s where most of my songs come from, the pits of hell.”
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Tash Sultana reached fame after releasing the 2016 EP Jungle, and has since collected several appearances in major festivals such as Cali Vibes, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits and several other international appearances.
The music video for ‘James Dean’ illustrates Tash’s one-man-band song creation, as they have been known for being a multi-instrumentalist and building a song on the spot. It features several shots within a 70s-style house, featuring Tash singing and playing a variety of instruments.
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Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.