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Luke Hemmings Has Given Us the “Shakes”: Single and Music Video Review

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

Singer-songwriter Luke Hemmings has been on quite the rise recently, from being announced as a performer at the Boston Calling Music Festival to announcing his first ever tour as a solo musician. While he initially rose to stardom as the lead singer of Australian pop rock group 5 Seconds of Summer, the state of quarantine during the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic allowed Hemmings to also sprout a solo career and create his own sound while physically isolated from the band. In the summer of 2021, Hemmings released his debut studio album, When Facing the Things We Turn Away From, an incredibly reflective work that allowed him to establish himself as an artist both lyrically and sonically. Almost three years later, he announced his upcoming EP and released its lead single, “Shakes,” which is arguably the singer at his most emotionally vulnerable yet.

Upon pressing play, “Shakes” instantly lulls you into a state of complete desolation. The track begins with beautifully subtle vocalizations that tragically morph into lyrics of utter hopelessness. It’s contagious in throbbing heartache as Hemmings grows self-destructive in his deep state of solitude and feels as if he needs to be with the individual he is yearning after in order to save himself. Reverbed melodic twinkles serve as glimmers of hope throughout the verses as Hemmings alludes to his issues with properly loving a partner and his belief that the world does not care if he is dead or alive. He’s spellbound in love and adoration, unable to “shake [the] feelin’” of absolutely needing to be with this person, which may finally make him feel like he’s worth something. Through both the track’s instrumentals and Hemmings’s wonderfully melancholic vocal mix, he is able to perfectly craft an all-encompassing feeling of despair and intense longing for a tragically far dream. He also capitalizes on this sentiment cinematically, starring in the song’s music video.

The music video opens on a seemingly empty, but lived-in, hotel room until it cuts to Hemmings sitting in the window staring out at the dark cityscape before him. The viewer is pulled into a sense of emptiness and longing before the lyrics even begin. The rest of the video depicts the emotions conveyed in the lyrics, a feeling of not being able to let go and being stuck in the past. Hemmings is seen stationary during all of the video, standing on rooftops, waiting in elevators, and sitting in the airport, while the world around him buzzes and moves. However, those around him are moving backwards, going to the place he wishes to revisit and stay in. Hemmings is alone and aching for what he had, in a sea of those who are able to revisit and live in it. The solemnity of his invisibility and solidarity is relatable, not only through the story the music video unfolds, but also the color choices used.

The color palette of this video is interesting, weaving together blues and greens, to create a sense of pining and aiding the visuals of a life moving backwards while Hemmings remains stationary. This creative choice is in direct contrast to Hemmings’ first music video, “Starting Line,” in which the palette is made of bright yellows and reds, and Hemmings is solitary in his movement forward. This leads to a subconscious connection between the two songs and their stories. While “Starting Line” follows someone who feels as though they’ve been left behind in life and long to get ahead and move forward, “Shakes” tells the story of someone who wishes to revisit an important part of their life that continues to affect them. These visual oppositions are what furthers the enticement of the story. Hemmings is offering a linear plot for fans and viewers to discover and connect to, all while allowing his music to shine.

The music video is the underscore to the track, aiding the storytelling without holding the viewer’s hand and showing them what he wants them to see. The visuals in this video allow each person to interpret the details but come to the same overall conclusion: missing someone or something sucks, and the memories of having them can haunt you for what feels like forever. You can’t shake the feeling of it and the impact it had on you, so you feel as though your world will always be stuck in that time, while the world around you continues to move.

“Shakes” is the epitome of longing for the things you miss while grappling with the need to move on. The fascinating concept of continuing the story from his last album while simultaneously furthering his sound cements Hemmings’ stance as a multifaceted and talented artist. This isn’t the last we expect to hear from Hemmings, and I’m looking forward to being taken on more journeys through his poetic artistry. Hemmings’ EP,“boy, (which features “Shakes” and more) releases April 26 and you can pre-save it here

Christina Guy is Co-Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Pace! She oversees the running of the chapter, all of its inner workings, hosts meetings, and more. She also consistently writes articles for Her Campus at Pace and has for 3 years now. Outside of Her Campus, Christina works in childcare as a summer camp counselor and a seasonal lead teacher. She is a History major and has a minor in Sociology/Anthropology. She is a First Year Experience peer leader and an education TA. Christina has submitted personal pieces to several small literary magazines since high school and continues to do so. Christina hopes to become a museum curator one day or work within museum education. On her own, Christina loves to write fiction, listen to music, and read. She is also a huge Star Wars fan and often writes articles pertaining to the subject. Christina is also a co-host of her own on-campus radio show called Sunday Scaries. Christina is also an expert in all things history and 5 Seconds of Summer. Two very different subject areas, but she is proficient in each nonetheless! She is also very passionate about 70s aesthetic and fashion and hopes to be able to completely embody the full 70s look one day.
Grace Jeffrey is thrilled to be Her Campus at Pace's treasurer for the 2024-2025 school year! She enjoys writing pieces within the scope of film, music, and other areas of pop culture, as well as themes revolving around facets of her current home — New York City. While living in her hometown in North Texas, Grace became immersed in the worlds of filmmaking and writing. In high school, she began taking more advanced film and writing courses and became a finalist in her district’s film festival. She has also worked at a local ice cream shop as well as professionally pet-sitting. In college, Grace is currently majoring in Film and Screen Studies with a minor in Arts and Entertainment Management. She is Head of Marketing at Rainy Day Productions, Social Media Manager in Pace Film Club, and holds roles in many other organizations. She also works at AMC Theaters, her favorite movie theater chain. In her free time, Grace loves going to concerts, the movie theatre, and browsing the city — whether it's with friends or solo! However, most importantly, she loves starting scripts and creating brand new cinematic universes. On Mondays, she co-hosts Cinema GEMs, a movie-tell-all with her best friend Emma on their college radio station. When off-the-air, you can always catch her listening to 5 Seconds of Summer on her city strides. She loves taste-testing various NYC pizzas around the city, and, above all else, living with her four best friends.