Reviews March 11, 2024

Selfish Health (Toxic Pain) by Shanghai Metro Temple | Single Review

by Gabe Allen

When someone close to you is constantly in crisis, you can spend all of your energy on that person without even realizing it. Years go by in the blink of an eye and suddenly you realize it’s been a really long time since you had the space to work on your own shit. That’s when it’s time to make a break for it, and focus on yourself — at least that’s the story behind “Selfish Health (Toxic Pain),” the latest single from Shanghai Metro Temple. 

The Denver-based group has spent the last few years gigging around the metro area with setlists that mix ‘70s and ‘80s covers with original tunes — they even made it to the semifinals of Bandwagon’s Battle of the Bands last year. But, “Selfish Health (Toxic Pain)” is the band’s first release featuring lead singer Jasmine Maletta. The band brought her into the lineup in October, shortly before the battle of the bands. Her powerful voice soars over the track echoing Pat Benetar or maybe even Blind Melon’s Shannon Hoon. 

“Toxic pain pulls my heart back to the same,” she belts over the chorus. “It’s time for selfish help, or else there is no change.”

The song starts off as a straightforward power ballad before sliding off the rails with a speedy, overdriven guitar solo. From here the band breaks out their glam chops — Maletta uses every ounce of breath in a half ad-libbed reverie over chugging power chords. 

The end result is a heavily nostalgic throwback to the slower songs from the ‘80’s hair metal era — with a modern self-help twist.

With the addition of Maletta, Shanghai Metro Temple seems to have hit its stride. Her powerful vocal delivery elevates the earnest power ballad format that the band is known for. One thing is for sure: this song was meant to be played live. Shanghai Metro Temple will headline the Mercury Cafe in Denver on Friday, March 29 with support from Stephen Lear Band and Charles & the Oddity.

Listen to ‘Selfish Health (Toxic Pain)’ by Shanghai Metro Temple wherever you get your music!