Welcome to The Singles Bar, a review series focused on new single and song releases.
He’s a bad boy. You know he’s no good for you, but you can’t seem to loosen your grip on him, further entangling yourself in his warm James Dean eyes. But he’s thrilling. He takes you to places you never dreamed you’d go ⎯⎯ and his cool mint kiss lingers on the nape of your neck, forever a reminder of his hypnotic and dangerous powers. Or, that’s the story Ashley Schultz (who goes by her stage name ASH) paints with her second solo single, the sweltering downtempo “Hold on Me,” which percolates at a remarkably chill rate. “He’s all about me drinking his Jim Beam, lights a cigarette / I’m all about him / I’m in like a sin, and he’s loving it,” she coos, decorating the stage with a blistering smoke, curling from her lips and worming into the eardrums.
“He’s all about it / He’s got a tight grip, that’s why I break / Tell me your secrets and tell me your lies, as I lie in your bed, and I look in your eyes / Been here before, and I know what you’re doing, tuning me up / Got my strings in the open, catching my breath / I’ll be staying the night,” unwraps the lead-in to the sumptuous and muggy hook. Schultz’s vocal is brewed to boil, splitting through the well-crafted layers of psychedelic synths and vibrating percussion, owed in large part to producer Pretty Sister.
On the song, Schultz explained its meaning, “[It] is a song about that one person you just can’t help but give all your power to. The one you lust for because only he or she makes you feel truly alive. They drag you to all time lows but also lift you to the highest highs. You know you will never be loved or treated the way you deserve, but you can never break free because the thrill and rush of this person is irresistible.”
“Hold on Me” stands in stark contrast to Schultz’s previous work in punk-pop trio Syd Youth, whose contorted 2015 EP Maya remains an utter highlight of the year. Tragically, the group came to an end a number of months after the release.
Grade: 3 out of 5