Best New Music of the Week: Benjamin Kheng and J.Sheon, IU, Alexander 23 and more
Loud and clear
Celebrity by IU
And IU makes her first comeback of 2021. Widely-recognised as Korea's reigning pop princess, she's turned the tables with this new record, proving that she's not just another idol for the entertainment industry to manipulate. Returning with Celebrity, both the music video and title gives the impression that she's telling the tale of her glamorous celebrity life lived over the past 14 years. But a closer look at the lyrics reveals the person she's dedicating this to is none other than herself — or to be more specific, her younger self. The lyrics tragically encompasses how it was hard to find herself as she grew up alongside the all-too-glamorous life: pointing out how she should never forget to realise she is her own celebrity and that "among the cloudy dark/You're a star painted with a left hand". The track's upbeat, filled with a heartening amount of self-love. And the video? It's nothing less than what you'd expect — think gorgeous costume changes and impeccable makeup looks alongside the self-realising narrative.
Fresh Feelings by Benjamin Kheng ft. J.Sheon
Benjamin Kheng takes to the music scene once again with freshly released single: Fresh Feelings alongside Taipei-based rapper and R&B singer, J.Sheon. The track has clear gospel and old soul influences — most definitely radiating through with the backup chorus singing in the background. The upbeat, gleeful track sings of him being helplessly in love with a woman who's admirably more incredible than him (in some strange self-deprecating sort of way): "She's a five foot ten, I'm a 5 out of 10". But we're not blaming them when the woman they've developed Fresh Feelings for is one who wants to smash the patriarchy. On the collaboration, despite working virtually and apart, J.Sheon commented on how it worked seamlessly, and they connected really well together. It's a joyful, infectious beat that well...doesn't seem to scream toxic masculinity? Of course we're stanning this 100%.
Baila Conmigo by Selena Gomez and Rauw Alejandro
Selena's De Una Vez is an emotional track about finding strength again, but it was also indicative of the direction the pop star was taking for this EP (Hint: it's mostly in Spanish). And to tease the rest of the EP, Baila Conmigo is an infectious, sultry dance beat that's the sort you can imagine yourself dancing to in the club. The music video exactly conveys the message; as her music is played on TV, the radio and radiates through the town, effectively inviting people to dance with her. Be right back, we're gonna break out into a dance in our own rooms right about now.
You by benny blanco, Marshmello and Vance Joy
Oh wow, if this doesn't scream a collaboration that's to be expected from this exact group of people, we don't know what is. With You, there's no mistaking the classic folk vibes that we hear in just about every Vance Joy track, and the strong, dancehall and EDM-led production by benny blanco and Marshmello. It's a track that somehow meshes the sad undertones we commonly get with songs like the Vance Joy's Riptide with the strange sentiment we feel upon listening to EDM sometimes; that feeling of being able to forget everything for just the night. Despite being on very separate sides of the spectrum, the combined effect is one that carries forth the meaning behind the lyrics: one of longing as all they wish for is to 'go to you'. The music video's aesthetics is as eclectic as the producers and singer behind the track; filled with clay animations sitting around a campfire, meeting a seemingly scary monster before bonding over movies, bubble baths, and weed.
Cry Over Boys by Alexander 23
Well, this one hits like a truck. But maybe it's meant to. Alexander 23's sings of the most relatable thing to so many of us: crying over boys we haven't even met in real life. As much as we'd hate to admit it, many of us share the sentiments he expresses in his lyrics; "how many nights can you spend staining your pillow with makeup?". Be it an obsession over your favourite celebrity (okay, understandable) or the boy that doesn't even know you're crying over him, many of us make up excuses, lie to ourselves, and tell all our friends he seems nice till we're hurt to the point of no return. Why do we do it? Honestly... do any of us really know? Living in delusion just seems better in the meantime. If anything, the track's a slow, emotional and stripped-down track that hits all the right nodes — especially at 2AM at night. Reality check or not, we're adding this to the playlists (we cry to) alright.
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