TRACK REVIEW: Beth McCarthy - Shame



Beth McCarthy







The track, Shame, is available via:




York, U.K.


21st September, 2018


WHEN I think about Beth McCarthy


a few things spring to mind. I want to talk about ambition and passion for music; experimenting with sound and ensuring you get the right components; keeping the pace going and staying in the public mind; back to Yorkshire and why there is so much great music coming from there; artists who you know will go a long way; promotion and great live performers who are putting their all into things. McCarthy is someone who seems born to do music. Every waking hour, I get the sense her career is in her mind. I look at her social media feeds and you can understand exactly why she wants to continue down this path. I am one of those people who can get weary getting so many requests and being busy but, at the end of the day, it is what I want to do. Maybe my faith wanes a little and there are darker times but I feel Beth McCarthy never feels like music is the wrong choice. There is infectiousness and energy that comes from her that gets into the bones and creates smiles. I can tell those artists who do not want it as much and seem to be a bit tired now and then. McCarthy seems to radiate glee and promise; a boundless sense of wonder that should be a lesson to everyone else. Maybe that is down to her natural personality – bright, warm and upbeat – but the songwriter has goals to be a big artist and get far. She will get there in time but the way she drives and pushes through is exciting to see. I know McCarthy wants to grow and explore new ground but, right now, she is producing fantastic work. There are a lot of great female songwriters out there and the Pop market is quite busy. It can be tough differentiating between some of the artists out there and I know how competitive things are.


The reason why the very best songwriters succeed and continue to impress is their passion and determination. It can be tricky keeping that spirit high and finding positivity but McCarthy knows where she wants to go and what she should be doing. I have been following her work for a little while and she is growing more impassioned and solid. The infectious positivity from McCarthy is what we need in music and what more people should be displaying. It is not only the music from McCarthy that gets into the blood but is her social media output. You look at what she is putting out and how she communicates with her followers and it makes you want to stick with her. She has a quirkiness and friendliness; a natural and loveable personality that draws you and gets into the heart. Above all, you hear a young woman who wants her music to touch people and spread around the world. I know she will tour internationally and things will get a lot more hectic for her in time but, right now, she is busy promoting Shame. I will talk about the song later and what it is about but I can tell McCarthy has put everything into the song. It is a time of transformation and experimentation for the Yorkshire-based artist. I can tell each song is a chance to express a new side of her and say something fresh. A lot of songwriters get into a rut and seem to write the same thing over and over again. McCarthy has been in the business for a little while but she knows what it takes to succeed. So many people think they have a great sound and do not need to move on – they might get a lot of streams and positive comments – but music is all about evolution and movement. You always need to keep it fresh and explore different territory. Another thing that amazes me about Beth McCarthy is the way she plays with sound and experiments.


I have mentioned how artists need to keep it fresh and move forward but McCarthy knows this better than anyone. Shame is her first true release – she has released other material but this is her first, big track – and she has been playing with image and sound. I look at how she appeared last year on Pretty Lies (bespectacled and concentrated) and now, on Shame, that has been that blossoming. If the somewhat shy or reserved figure of the previous single has been replaced by a vivacious, bold and complex artist who has a new look; the determination and passion has remained the same. It is interesting to see how McCarthy has changed. I think artists like Dua Lipa have made an impression on her. Maybe it is a more sexual and confident look but you can tell McCarthy’s new work is a more adventurous, bold and enflamed thing. Shame has tease and emotion but there is a world of colours working away. This is her bid for a big step and, after one listen, you know she has the ammunition to succeed. McCarthy has stepped up a lot and has spent a lot of time creating a more intense, mainstream-ready and mature persona. That is not to say she was lacking any maturity but there is something eye-catching and captivating about the cover for her latest single. Maybe you think looks and style are irrelevant when it comes to music but it is vital. So many artists stay with the same look and do not reinvent themselves. I am not say artists like McCarthy are like David Bowie and drastically reinvent but they do keep evolving and trying new looks. Now, in 2018, McCarthy has adopted a striking and stunning look that matches her music. Not only does she look different and we have a new version of the artist coming out; her sound has fresher and more polished production and her lyrics venture into new ground.  


I will move onto new things later but I wanted to stick with this subject. Look at the biggest Pop artists of the moment and they change their style and outlook between releases. Even if they score a big smash and get a lot of media attention; trying new look and changing it up regarding sound is really important. We might think people want artists to stay the same and do not have the imagination to accept change but we want to find talent that keeps things moving and can present new aspects. Beth McCarthy seems to adopt a new persona and outlook on every track. Now, on Shame, I get the impression of someone who has experienced a lot of heartache and trouble but she is fighting back. I will go more into the song but heartache and relationships are still at the centre of what she does. In previous reviews, I have asked whether songwriters need to stick with heartbreak and relationships and whether they should move things on. The great artists can talk about their personal lives but step into new subjects and broaden their horizons. McCarthy is looking at love and her experiences at the moment but it will not be too long until she looks wider and takes in new subjects. The finest songwriters can balance the personal with unusual and I feel it is only a matter of time before McCarthy is stepping away from matters of the heart. I am excited to see where she goes and whether there is more material coming next year. I know McCarthy has experienced changes this year – most of it positive – and she has a lot to reflect on. She is a D.J. and has seen some career progression; a lot of happiness and things are good right now. I hope McCarthy brings this spirit and joy into her work and reflects how far she has come recently. The past year has been brilliant for her and I would love to see some songs come through that talk about those times and how she has blossomed.


Beth McCarthy is working in an industry where there are so many competitors and challengers. It is hard to make a break and stand out – many quit and do not find the strength to keep going. I can emphasise with those who find it hard and retreat but there are many who overcome hurdles and tough times. McCarthy knows how far she can go and what she has accomplished so far. Rather than compromise what she does and succumb to something quite cheap and easy; she puts her all into the music and writes songs that are natural to her. That is an important thing to consider. Many artists seem to copy what is in the mainstream and are reluctant to put any personality and unique edge into their sounds. I worry a lot of new acts are compromising and struggling to find their own identity right out of the traps. Beth McCarthy reminds me of artists like Dua Lipa and Sigrid but does not mimic what they do. McCarthy has the passion and heat of Dua Lipa; the songwriting maturity and intelligence of Sigrid and a soul that is all her own. Those combinations and strengths mean her work bursts from the speakers and gets right into the blood. Everything about McCarthy – her look and image; the way she writes and how she comes across on social media – leads me to believe her time in the spotlight is not that far away. Pop is a genre that has changed a lot through the decades and many ask whether it is as strong and surprising as it was back in the 1980s and 1990s. I feel a group of young female artists/bands – like Dua Lipa, Christine and the Queens and Robyn – have made such a huge contribution and are doing wonderful things. Pop is really interesting right now and there is such a banquet of sounds. Whether you want something commercial and easy or a more mature and complicated brand – there is something out there that will prick the senses.


Look at Beth McCarthy and you can tell she encompassed all the strands and textures of Pop. There is the emotion and challenging songwriting from the industry’s best but there is an accessibility and lightness that will appeal to those who stick to the mainstream. McCarthy tackles tough subjects but never makes things sound too heavy and dark. She can embody a sensitive and tortured lover and then jump to someone who is out there in the world and ready to face things head-on. I have not seen many artists who have so much in their locker and have some variation available. I am confident McCarthy will go a long way because, even this early, she has been clasped into the public bosom. People are reacting to Shame and it seems like there is a big appetite for more from her. I know 2019 will be a big deal and we will see more releases from the York-based songwriter. It is a great time and you can hear that ambitious and excitement come out in the music. What excites me is how positive McCarthy is and how optimistic she is. That glee and passion we see in everything she does is infectious. You need an artist like that who can stay in the heart and you remember easily. I feel McCarthy has the skill and talent to get into the mainstream and mix it alongside Dua Lipa, Sigrid and the very best out there. The market is always looking for artists who show something special and have the potential to remain for years. Maybe there will be an E.P. or album from Beth McCarthy next year but I know she wants to release singles and show a new look. Now, after a slight break, there is this determination to get music out there and strike hard. The first signs are very positive and we are going to see a more sustained period of activity from the songwriter. I feel compelled to come back to Yorkshire.

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I have talked about the county a lot and am always interested what is coming from there. The county, for me, defines the height of ambition and innovation. You get something different, exciting and original when it comes to Yorkshire. Places like London and Manchester are steeped in history and great music but I feel we need to look more at Yorkshire and the artists emerging. There are fantastic bands in Sheffield and terrific solo artists that put their heart on their sleeves. What amazes me is the way Yorkshire artists can fuse older styles and music with current movements. I feel the media ignores the county a lot and we need to uncover the magic coming from there. If we are too reliant on London for our sounds and follow what the media thinks; we are going to deny the true spectrum of music and all the local brews. Yorkshire is a proud and fantastic county that has a raft of great artists. Beth McCarthy is one of the best from the area and she seems to vibe from the diversity and spirit happening. You get the impression she takes a lot from the people around her and is inspired by local musicians. She is getting a lot of praise and focus but I wonder how long it will take to get to the mainstream – given the fact she is not from London. Maybe there is, by virtue of there being more people here, more great music from London but I feel there is more range in Yorkshire. The county has always been pivotal and exciting. Let’s spend some time uncovering all the great Yorkshire music and why artists from here need more exposure and love. It is a wonderful county that keeps producing gems. Beth McCarthy is among a long list of artists who are putting the county on the map.


I will come to look at her new single in a bit but want to end the section by looking at those who throw their all into it and have the tools for success. Beth McCarthy is not one of those artists who wants to keep her eyes on streaming figures and getting onto playlists. Sure, that is important and something she needs to consider but it is the art and music itself that is most important. The fact the songs resonate and people can get something from them is the most crucial consideration. McCarthy is a wonderful songwriter and artist who brings something new to the business and she wants to influence others and be around for a very long time. I know she can continue to evolve and strive and that is all a matter of time. The reason I am sure she will get there is because of the energy she tosses into music and how dedicated she is. I love what she is putting out there right now but am excited to see what comes next. Everyone should keep an eye out for McCarthy and follow her every move. She is an artist that wants success and to be in the foreground. You can feel that determination and passion in every note and her naturally warm and bright personality has made her a fan favourite. Her live performances and the way she can connect with people is wonderful. You feel this artist radiate and shine from the stage. McCarthy has a brilliant smile and warmth but she is serious and complicated. You get so much from her and, when watching her from the stage, all of that comes to light. There are not many who have the same colours as Beth McCarthy. Here is a natural and ready songwriter whose path to the mainstream should be unhindered and clear.


There is a breathlessness and smokiness coming from the firs moments of Shame. You get this electronic pop and bubble that teases you in and projects a mood of night-time revelation, delicate emotions and something sensual. The introduction does not race or explode: we get something tempting, soft and brooding that gets under your skin right away and spikes the mind. McCarthy’s voice has a sexiness and softness that mixes with a soulfulness and caramel entice. She seems to be attracted to someone and wants to be the only one. You get lost inside this honey-rich and engaging vocal that is soft but powerful; it is impassioned but has some tease to it. McCarthy is talking about someone that means a lot to her – that need to be with them and not have anyone else in the scene. Maybe there is that history and long relationship that has gone through changes and stages. You get the sense something has happened to compromise the purity and strength of what they have. My first impression was two lovers who have that strong bond but something has caused a slight weakening. The heroine definitely wants to be there and not overlooked but you sense some reservation and hesitation in her voice. Indiscretion and loyalty are subjects that make their way into the environment soon enough. Most Pop artists would ramp up the tension and throw energy into the mix; crowd the production needlessly and rush to the chorus. McCarthy takes her time and wants the listener to stay with her – not run off and be too keen to throw everything into the mix. It appears the hero does not want her or his heart does not resound the same way. You feel they are together – in the same bed and room – but are on different pages. Rather than communicate, things are being hidden and the heroine is feeling the weight. She has been loyal and open but he has either been cheating or not revealing what is on his mind.


You get involved with the song and fall for the way McCarthy presents her words. It is a shame the man is not with her and feeling the same way. From the husky and low-down words of before; McCarthy lifts the mood with sweet vocals and there is that rush. Before long, it is brought back down and we are back with them. Our heroine shows how she runs to him and would come if he asked. There is a loyalty and passion from her that has not been compromised or questioned. You never feel like she is unattached and feeling cold. The hero is the one who has lacked that connection and has forgotten why they are together. I am not sure what has caused the division but there is something heartaching coming from McCarthy. I know how much she has invested and how faithful she is but the man is turning away and leaving her out in the open. It is hard to hear and the heroine never overdoes things. A lot of artists would be over-emotional or rack their vocals right to the limit. McCarthy keeps her voice fairly restrained and emotional. Rather than belt out notes and go for something too heavy-handed; she keeps it controlled and that creates a much more potent and long-lasting effect. Your heart is with her and wonder why things have gone the way they have – is it a case of an affair or have things just run their course?! The man gets a bit of a kicking at times (he is doing deals with the Devil) and it seems she cannot help herself. An addictiveness and sense of entice comes from the hero and, maybe, she saw all this coming. It is hard learning lessons like this and being fooled by someone but it seems like this is the final nail. She should, as she confesses, know better but there is something powerful and pure that means she keeps coming back. The chorus is brief but beautiful and admits how it is a shame things have gone the way they have. After a single listen, you remember that chorus and the song is indelible. McCarthy does not overload the song with words and keeps things fairly simple. The power of her voice and the emotion coming from the lyrics does all the talking and stays in the brain. You will return to the song to see how things work out and figure why it turned sour. I was backing the heroine and wanted to know whether things would work out. It seems times are hard and maybe there is no going back. Shame is a heartfelt and effecting song that has detail and personal relevance. Beth McCarthy has been working hard on her new material and wanted to produce a return that was emphatic and new. This is a big step from her and I hope we see more material coming soon. All the signs are good and I am confident she will make some serious waves next year. Keep an eye out for the talented songwriter and get behind everything she does. Shame is a song that means business and comes from an artist who wants to remain in music for a very long time to come.


Follow social media to see what Beth McCarthy is up to because the next few months will be busy. The York artist has a new radio gig and Shame is out there. I know she will be hitting the stage again and getting the music out there. Local stations have been playing the fresh cut and she has been hitting the road to spread the word. The determination and energy expended to promote her material shows you how much this all means. I feel McCarthy has all the qualities we require from an artist. She has that natural beauty and alluring smile; a sense of evolution and experimentation that keeps you hooked; a grace and passion that gets into the soul; that desire to connect with people and produce something genuinely stunning. I will close things by recommending we all listen to Beth McCarthy and what she is putting out there. Maybe there has been a bit of a gap and things have been slightly quiet the last year. She has been busy working away and developing new music; getting her new track out to people and letting people fall in love with her sounds. I have blathered and chatted a long time and will bring this all down. I am excited Beth McCarthy is back and writing. We can see a retuned and new artist who has grown and knows where she wants to head. I feel there will be more singles and maybe an E.P. will arrive in a few months. It is a great time for her and I can feel that energy radiate. We have so many artists to choose from in music right now but Beth McCarthy definitely stands aside. A fantastic talent who is reinventing herself and has her sights set on the horizon; I know how far she will go and what an impact she will make. Keep your eyes fixed on this exciting artist and watch her fly. It has been a busy year for McCarthy so far and she is not willing to drop the pressure and energy right now. Things are starting to hot-up and dare anyone…


STAND in her way.


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