Deborah Silver, Shake It Off Review
Deborah Silver, Shake It Off Review
Shaking Up an Anthem: Deborah Silver’s ‘Shake It Off’ Is Jazz Resilience at Its Finest
The first thing that strikes you when you press play on Deborah Silver’s latest single, “Shake It Off,” is the swell of brass, saxes, and swinging rhythms, heralding the union of jazz big band and contemporary pop in a way that instantly captivates. Silver’s rendition does not interpret Taylor Swift’s iconic anthem; it reimagines and revitalizes it in a setting that combines classic and modern sensibilities.
The single bears the unmistakable touch of legendary arranger Charles Calello, who has arranged iconic numbers for Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, and Bruce Springsteen. His six-decade career has furnished the music world with intricate, unforgettable compositions, and “Shake It Off” is no different. Calello and Silver collaboratively arrange this version, setting the stage for the musicians and Silver herself to showcase their extraordinary talent.
One of Silver’s defining attributes as an artist is her emotive vocal delivery—something legendary Quincy Jones aptly termed as “strong and sultry.” Silver’s vocals on this single are spectacular, resonating with a vivid enthusiasm that matches the big band setting. Her clear diction and rhythmic finesse are vital assets, particularly in a genre where every syllable contributes to the mood. As she ventures into the second verse, her vocal range expands to playful highs, and she creatively embellishes the melody line, delivering not just a note-for-note rendition but a personal statement.
The ensemble features a brass section that accentuates the vocals, contributing to the build-up and climax of the song. Notably, the saxophone soli creates a transcendent bridge, taking us into the breakdown section with flair. A key change follows, lifting the energy, and you can almost feel Silver smiling as she toys with the chorus melody, breathing fresh air into the familiar tune. The big band’s power and fullness amplify the celebratory tone of the original, giving it a grandiose, irresistible, and fun feel.
What’s most remarkable about this rendition is its effortlessly integrating jazz and pop. Swift’s original melody fits so naturally into the jazz big band aesthetic that you almost forget its pop origins. This single captures the essence of what Silver does best—melding genres and eras, injecting fresh enthusiasm into what many would consider sacrosanct.
“Shake It Off” emerged as an anthem of resilience upon its original release in Taylor Swift’s album, 1989. In Deborah Silver’s jazz-infused version, the song undergoes a transformative rebirth that amplifies its themes of overcoming adversity. Silver’s vocal talents add a layer of emotional richness that makes the song’s message of resilience strike a deeply personal chord. This rendition gains an additional layer of poignancy when framed by her life-affirming mantra, #NeverTooLate—a phrase that captures Silver’s triumphant return to music after taking years off to focus on family. Here, the song not only showcases her musical expertise but also reflects her steadfast resolve and inspirational ethos as both an artist and an individual.
Silver’s rendition of “Shake It Off” does what every great cover should: it pays homage to the original while transforming it into something uniquely her own. This song is a bold reminder that genres are porous boundaries, not walls, and that music has the inherent power to transcend labels and, in turn, bring people closer together.
Whether you’re a Taylor Swift fan, a jazz aficionado, or just a lover of good music, Deborah Silver’s “Shake It Off” offers a textured, emotionally rich experience that captures the best of both worlds. Like a skilled alchemist, Silver and her collaborators transform a contemporary pop anthem into a timeless jazz classic, all while preserving the empowering spirit that made the original such an emblem of resilience.
Shake It Off
Glitter & Grits Records
August 5, 2023