Dominican indie rocker Twin Shadow has built his career on pristine pop songwriting and a highly stylized persona that melds glam rock, new wave, and contemporary swagger. Back in October, George Lewis Jr. surprised fans with the release of “Hollow Days,” a delightfully unexpected chimera of bachata guitar riffs and sensual beckoning. Now, as most of us bask in the drowsy afterglow of post-Christmas gorging, Twin Shadow has returned with “Broken Horses,” another nugget of bachata-flavored melancholy perfect for saying goodbye to 2018.
Love and loss are at the center of “Broken Horses,” with the track kicking off in dramatic fashion as Lewis and his boo enter a room of glaring eyes and jealous hearts. “Who they gonna love like that/No one, not even themselves,” he sings in the chorus, progressively interchanging the pronouns to reflect different perspectives of the story as well as his mounting heartache. As the song unfolds, we come to discover he was unable to hold on to this indomitable woman who values her freedom above all else.
“Broken Horses” is a natural and more refined evolution of the musical curiosity Twin Shadow began expressing on “Hollow Days.” The song has an unmistakable Caribbean parentage, built on a skeletal reggaeton beat, bachata guitar picking, and paired-down güira strokes. Hazy synth stabs and Lewis’ silky vocals keep “Broken Horses” stylistically true to Twin Shadow’s sound, but the artist’s homecoming itch has now become perfectly clear. Most importantly, in conjuring these ubiquitous elements of Dominican identity, Lewis has avoided any sense of opportunistic nostalgia and folkloric relegation, instead opening the door to embark on this musical adventure on his own terms.
Stream two different version of “Broken Horses” below: