Ava Heatley’s “Shitty Tattoo” is a Cathartic Piano Ballad About the Ill-Advised Decisions We Later Regret But Can’t Fix

Ava Heatley, photo courtesy the artist

Anyone that’s ever felt like they get stuck emotionally and embarrassed by their own emotional stubbornness, perhaps born of some bit of arrested personal development, and acted out will relate deeply to Ava Heatley’s “Shitty Tattoo.” The song starts out simply enough with piano and voice outlining several times in life where everything feels raw and too real and you want to travel back to a time to fix the mistakes you made when you didn’t have adult responsibilities and maybe throwing a tantrum over much of anything wouldn’t be so consequential. The quiet part of contemplation escalates from the introspective yet dramatic self-loathing to an examination of repeating patterns of not wanting to deal with frustrating situations and poor life decisions. Even decisions as minor but so symbolic as an awful tattoo that one got thinking in the moment it would be something you wanted to commit to for the rest of your life because everything seems so significant to you in your tumultuous teen years and twenties when, really, as you get older you realize they didn’t matter that much—the relationships, the impulsive behavior in a moment of peak feeling, the angst over relatively minor matters. Guitar and drums come in to give voice to that cacophony in your head as every thing you think you fucked up and ruined come crashing in. If you live past thirty-five it’s safe to say you’ve been there and if not you probably are either in denial or have lead a boring life both outwardly and inwardly. Listen to “Shitty Tattoo” on Soundcloud and follow Heatley at the link below. Her new EP Beautiful/Terrifying is due for release on November 2 and she recently debuted “Shitty Tattoo” at The Bitter End in New York City on July 6.


Author: simianthinker

Editor, primary content provider for this blog. Former contributor to Westword and The Onion.