March has proved itself to be arduous, to say the very least. The social equilibrium took a sharp hit as we scrambled to adapt to the growing pandemic that was claiming lives and time away from loved ones. Social distancing was introduced; gigs cancelled; bars, cinemas various and entertainment centres ceased its operations, virtually putting an end to most communal activities.
Fortunately here to break the mundane routines and keep our sanities in check are new music releases from the region. Here are some fresh tracks to delve into, for that extra inspiration boost we all seem to be needing these days.
1. 100 Ways by Jackson Wang
Of the big leagues in the K-Pop realm is GOT7’s Jackson Wang, who has branched out as a soloist with his debut album “Mirrors” late last year. The Hong Kong rapper continues to impress fans after the release of the bilingual album with brand new single “100 Ways”; a slick, dance-pop track that checks all the foundations of a classic club groove. Accompanied by an even slicker music video produced by legendary director and choreographer Daniel “Cloud” Campos of Panic! At The Disco and Paramore fame, the chart-topper features a mystically alluring visual with razor-sharp choreography courtesy of Wang and internationally-renowned dance crew Kinjaz.
2. Mess by Jasmine Sokko
Recently cinching the title for best Southeast Asia Act at the 2019 MTV EMAs, Jasmine Sokko is no stranger to the electronic music scene. The 24-year-old starlet behind her trademark masks gained international traction when she placed fourth on Chinese online reality electronic music show Rave Now last year. “Tired”, Sokko’s first release following her appearance on the competition surpassed a whopping five million hits on Spotify; putting Singapore on the map in the world of EDM.
Newest single “Mess” leans heavily on the radio-friendly pop sounds that her fans are familiar with—punchy beats, crystal-clear vocals and a catchy hook. Packaged neatly in an earwormy tune are lyrics of determination; “Fell down seven times, stood up eight,” Sokko sings in the chorus.
3. My Darling by .gif
Haunting vocals against intense ambient soundscapes—electronica duo .gif is Weish and Din, and a passionate, experimental nature that reflects deeply in their creations. If you’re looking for an unconventional addition to your indie playlist, their recently released “My Darling” is a good starting point. Balanced on a gritty synthesiser arpeggiation, the number entrances with Weish’s mesmerising yet overcast tone. “My Darling” is the first release preceding the launch of its album, “Hail Nothing”, that’s slated to arrive later this month. “If our previous albums were The Smiths, this album is Joy Division”, the duo tease.
4. OCEANS by YAØ, Tengyboy and Airliftz
2019 Singapore Youth Music Award’s New Kid On The Block YAØ has been proving his worth as the crowned local breakthrough artist since his debut in 2018. In collaboration with upcoming rapper Tengyboy, Malaysian hip-hop sensation Airliftz and local producer J.SON, “OCEANS” was released under Homeground Studios. The easygoing pop track features YAØ’s velvety croonings intoned with the rappers’ flowy verses that explore feelings of yearning. First of the collaborative “SEASON01” series, it’s safe to say that “OCEANS” will be making waves in the regional hip-hop field.
5. do me right by brb.
Christened with a self-explanatory title, brb.’s debut album “relationshit” encapsulates relationship angst in a seven-track EP. The collection is complete with two previously unreleased songs, including the chilled-out “do me right”. The track masterfully manoeuvres around the R&B trio’s distinct funk-pop beat and bass, topping itself off with refined harmonising vocals that deal with the acceptance of infidelity.
6. Softly by Ysa Yaneza
Filipino bubble gum-pop princess Ysa Yaneza delivers another uptempo number with latest single “Softly”. Channelling strong early Britney Spears vibes, Yaneza describes her music as “bubbly, colourful 90s to early 2000s”, weaving the sprightly tunes with electronic and synth-pop elements. In “Softly”, she gushes about the joys of falling in love to a soft-focused backdrop of pastel. The lighthearted single encapsulates the sentiments of innocent love, and perhaps reminds listeners of the dizzy, head-up-in-the-clouds sensation that comes with infatuation.