Published Oct 26, 2018Over the years, Canada has come to know Shad as a bubbly MC whose wordplay edges on comedy, with messaging that serves as both a story and a warning, and overall an artist whose positivity radiates through his music. But that's not what A Short Story About a War, his first album in five years, is about. In fact, it's the opposite of that.
The actions of the government, humanity at large and our own internal demons are put front and centre at in this 40-minute short story. By breaking down socio-political standards in songs like "The Revolution / The Establishment," "Peace / War" and even "The Stone Throwers. (Gone In A Blink)," Shad also introduces his own definitive utopia, evident on "The Fool Pt. 1 (Get It Got It Good)" and the Ian Kamau and Eternia-featuring "Another Year," which roots this utopia right back in Toronto.
Though the themes of A Short Story About a War may have changed, the instrument-laced and bass-heavy production Shad has been accustomed to his whole career has not. "All I Need," accompanied by Yukon Blonde, offers a weighty horn anthem, while "Magic," which features Lido Pimienta, circles back to a ritualistic track led by electric strings and an "tribal"-like chant.
Shad's A Short Story About a War isn't a one-listen album, but rather one with multiple layers that need to be peeled back to fully grasp its concept. That doesn't mean you won't get it on first listen, either. After all, we're all trying to find peace during times that may feel like war. (Secret City)