We’ve heard a handful of (teen) breakup and traditional pop songs about being heartbroken but never from an international perspective.
Niki is an Indonesian singer-songwriter that is now part of 88rising, however, she grew up in Indonesia before she moved to the States to study music and pursue her now-career.
Hearing about her high school experience in Indonesia and seeing how it compares to the ups and downs of American high school was unique. I personally haven’t heard many songs where American artists have incorporated their culturally unique upbringings into music.
Throughout the song, Niki tells the story about her friends and the chaos that took place on the walls of her high school along with her emotional journey being in a relationship during that time.
The lyrics feel significant when she writes “High school in Jakarta, sorta modern Sparta | Had no chance against the teenage suburban armadas | We were a sonata, thanks to tight-lipped fathers | Yeah, livin’ under that was hard, but I loved you harder | High school in Jakarta, an elaborate saga | I still hate you for makin’ me wish I came out smarter | You love-hate your mother, so do I | Could’ve ended different, then again | We went to high school in Jakarta”
Just that chorus itself holds so much meaning. The way she describes her suburban life and how she had to be hush-hush about her relationship but it was all worth it even though her parents were strict.
There’s one verse that sounds straight out of Niki’s high school diary at times. “Natasha’s movin’ to New York (New York) | Probably sometime in August (ah) | And I’m spendin’ the summer in Singapore (ah) | I’m so sad I can’t tell you sh*t anymore | I made friends with Abby this year (this is how I met your mom) (oh, my God) | We’re movin’ in March or so | And although you bring me to tears | I’m glad that we gave it a go”
It all sounds like typical high school where you think the person you’re crushing on or with will be your forever and want to tell them everything that’s going on in your life.
The song honestly feels like one big letter to this guy who Niki leaves unnamed – of course. She thinks back on her their relationship ended because of his mom and wonders how he’s doing now that they’re both older.
What I love is that though she grew up in a different country, it’s interesting to hear how similar the high school experience really is.
Melodically it’s very mellow and upbeat. Like all of Niki’s songs, it’s are light and simple.
Her lyricism is what makes the song pop with the storytelling and her ability to make words rhyme even if they have different spellings.
If you’ve never heard Niki’s music before I definitely recommend giving it a listen.
Check out the music video here!