Music News and Interviews

Niki – “High School in Jarkarta” Song Review

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!

Music News and Interviews

Songs That Have a Hold on Me – “Babydoll” by Dominic Fike

I listened to “Babydoll” on a constant loop every single morning Tuesdays and Thursdays during the five-minute walk to my class at 8 in the morning. 

Does that sound like a healthy thing to do? Probably not but like the title states, this song had a death grip on me. 

It has about 104 million streams and that’s a huge number to wrap my mind around. The song itself is barely even two minutes long, with a duration of 1:40. It’s the shortness and sweetness of this song that makes it so consumable.

What I love about Dominic Fike as an artist is his ability to play an instrument. He’s a multi-instrumental artist who plays the guitar, drums, bass, and of course vocals for all his songs. It’s noticeable in all his songs and it’s quite impressive.

Another thing I love about this song is how abruptly it ends. Almost like he recorded this song the second the idea came to mind and released it as soon as he finished composing his ideas. 

The track starts with an electric guitar intro which is later accompanied by drums and Fike’s vocals. 

At its core, “Babydoll” is technically a love song. However, the lyrics give a lot of depth about Dominic’s background and his parents. His upbringing and childhood are such an interesting story to read about and he doesn’t hesitate to be vulnerable about his in any of his songs. 

With the line “Find me on Miami concrete |  Lookin’ for somebody different |  ‘Cause my daddy was a pimp |  My mama had her issues but I miss her anyway.” 

He actually released this EP while he was dropping his mom off at jail. He also wrote most of the EP while he was on house arrest. It’s crazy to imagine how differently his life could have gone if his album/EP hadn’t blown up.  

My favorite aspect of this song is the pacing. The lyrics are fast and in tune with the rapid tempo. It’s not necessarily rap or hip hop but it’s not fully alternative either. He combines various genres in all his songs and that’s what I love about his music. 

The chorus of the song is a lot slower and provides a contrast to the rest of the song. “I can’t move on, baby doll |  Waitin’ on calls, flippin’ through stations |  I’m outclassed and it’s outrageous |  And I’ll take it all, baby doll |  Whatever’s been weighin’ you down” 

This isn’t necessarily my favorite song by Dominic Fike, but at this point, I’ve listened to so much of his music that it’s hard to choose just one track.

The instrumentals of this song are really what got me hooked. I could listen to Dominic Fike just playing the guitar for hours and it’s my mission to listen to Dominic Fike play this song live. 

Music News and Interviews

Steve Lacy “Bad Habit” Song Review

Now that “Bad Habit” is gaining popularity, I thought it was the best time to write about it. It was released early this month and has already racked up 64 million streams.

It’s no lie Steve Lacy is one of the most talented artists of this generation. He has already worked with a handful of well-known musicians in collaborations and songwriting such as Kali Uchis and Kendrick Lamar.  

To me, this song feels like waking up on a Sunday morning and going to the farmer’s market. The song has lightness with Steve’s vocals and guitar while keeping it upbeat and vibe-y at the same time. 

The premise of the song is simple, having a bad habit of biting your tongue and holding in your thoughts.

Like Steve sings in earlier verses “I bite my tongue, it’s a bad habit |  Kinda mad that I didn’t take a stab at it |  Thought you were too good for me, my dear |  Never gave me time of day, my dear | It’s okay, things happen for |  Reasons that I think are sure, yeah”

It’s a track about not saying what’s on your mind and regretting it. A situation many of us go through constantly.  The relatability of this song along with the catchy melody seals the deal for me. Love an old-fashioned right place, wrong time situation.

It’s the perfect song to listen to without needing to put your full attention into it. A song that’s easy to jam out to.

The chord progression of the chorus as Steve sings “I wish I knew, I wish I knew you wanted me” over and over again gives the song a mellow vibe. The first verse starts off with this verse and lets the song slip into your mind. 

I find Steve’s falsetto to create an unexpected edge to the song as well. It happens towards the middle of the song when he sings “Say to me (please just say to me) |  If this could wind up | I wish you wouldn’t play with me | I wanna know (oh no)”  Right before getting back into the melody that we’ve been introduced to. 

After listening to this song I realized I’ve heard a lot of Steve Lacy’s music unknowingly. His sophomore album “Gemini Rights” was released in mid-July and it features a variety of different genres including jazz, rock, hip hop, and R&B. There’s something in it for everyone no matter what genre you prefer.

If you haven’t already, make sure to listen to “Bad Habit”. It’ll make your day a hundred times better!

Check out the music video for “Bad Habit”:

Miscellaneous Music News and Interviews

Thoughts on Lollapalooza Live Stream

I mentioned in my “Best Way to Consume Music” post that I wanted to go to Lollapalooza this year. 

It was racking my brain for weeks whether I wanted to spend money on going to Chicago and experience the adrenaline of large crowds, being squished in a mosh pit and standing at the barricade for hours to see my favorite artists perform, or sit in the comfort of my living room and watch those same performances on my TV.

Personally, after seeing how large the crowds got there I think I made the right choice. There is always next year if I want to go experience the rush in real life.

Anyway, I thought I could share my thoughts on the live stream for those who didn’t have access to Hulu or didn’t watch it.

To give more background about the live-streaming, there were two channels: Channel 1 and Channel 2. Each channel was streaming from around 2:00 pm ET to 11:00 pm ET.

In hindsight, being able to swap back and forth between channels to tune in to performances was much more simple compared to having to traverse Grant Park to see different artists in person. This way I could just turn off the TV or watch a different channel if I didn’t want to tune into an artist I didn’t enjoy. 


These are the artist I tuned into and the days.

Thursday (7/28)

  • Still Woozy

Saturday (7/30)

  • Big Sean
  • Wallows
  • Tomorrow By Together
  • Willow
  • J. Cole

Sunday (7/31)

  • Djo
  • Måneskin
  • Beach Bunny
  • j-hope
  • Denzel Curry

Another thing to note, Lollapalooza has 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, and 4-day pass options if you attend in person, so it’s up to the festival attendees which days they want to go to the festival based on the lineups for that day. 

This was one thing I appreciated about Lollapalooza was, of course, the free live stream on Hulu, as well as the ability to choose which days you wanted to attend the festival whether it was on live stream or in person.

Here is a thought I had about Lollapalooza in general, especially after seeing someone of these artists perform in-person and through live-stream as well. I honestly think it takes a lot of talent to pull off performing on stages as big as the ones on Lollapalooza.

The performers kept a huge crowd entertained whether they were closer to the stage or farther back. They were able to get the whole crowd hype about the music. It was impressive to see their stage presence as well as the lights used for the evening performances.

The only downside of streaming is that due to the huge lineup, not all performances were shown. Unfortunately, I  wasn’t able to tune into Dominic Fike, Dua Lipa, Glass Animals, COIN, or Claire Rosinkranz’s performances because their stages didn’t have coverage. 

Regardless, as I’ve mentioned before, the way you want to consume music is all a preference and of course, preferences can change over time. Whether you want to attend Lollapalooza in person or stream it as I did, I’m glad the options are available both ways.

Enjoy music in the way you want to and experience your life how you want to.

Music News and Interviews

Songs That Have a Hold on Me – “Be Sweet” by Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast is an alternative-pop band led by Korean-American musician Michelle Zauner.

“Be Sweet” was released in 2021 and this song is a little different on my level of obsession compared to “Remember When” and “Amoeba.”

I am obsessed with Michelle’s voice and although the instrumentals are catchy as well, it’s her vocals that keep me coming back.

The track has an 80’s synth-pop vibe to it and is very different from other Japanese Breakfast tracks. The guitar riffs, drums, and Michelle’s vocals create a dynamic track that is very upbeat and energetic.

It’s a song about forgiveness and optimism. A track that blossomed from Michelle’s desire to write a positive and bright track that is stark in contrast to her past music which deals more with grief and mourning.

I think that’s why this song is so refreshing and lingers in your mind. It’s the culmination of personal growth and artistic growth that adds a spark. 

Especially the verse “So come and get your woman (come and get your woman) |  Pacify her rage (pacify her rage) | Take the time to undo your lies.”

Make it up once more with feeling |  Recognize your mistakes and I’ll let you back in |  Realize not too late, love you always” 

It’s almost like she’s talking to herself in a way, telling herself to keep her rage towards everything in control and that it’s not too late to start looking at the world in a different light.

The chorus is what hooked me the first time when I heard the song. “Be sweet to me, baby |  I wanna believe in you, I wanna believe (be sweet) Be sweet to me, baby |  I wanna believe in you, I wanna believe in something” 

She hits those high notes while maintaining a powerful voice. 

The music video of the song matches the alternative Kate Bush-inspired vibes behind the track. It’s straight out of an X-Files episode with J. Brekkie in the middle of a corn field looking for aliens.

Music News and Interviews

Praising Pentagrams with Sick Thought’s New Single

Sick Thoughts run rampant in the minds of punk rock lovers. Drew Owen, lead singer and sole member of Sick Thoughts, has captivated the ears and souls of punk rockers since 2013. 

His first full release, “Terminal Teen Age”, is full of rampant riffs and cheesy choruses. This first release is more grimy and crackly than his new releases, but what charm Sick Thoughts has lost in the at home production quality he has made up for it with creative energy and captivatingly edgy lyricism. 

I am very excited for Sick Thoughts’ new album. “Heaven is No Fun” as I have been listening to his releases for about a year now. Owen’s dry vocals worked some magic on me and got me invested in his music quickly. All of his tracks are thrash-able and make for fantastic mosh-pit anthems. 

Mother I Love Satan” 

This new track offers cheesy lyrics like, “Promise I’m not an evil man/ I’ll send you a pentagram” and some great guitar work that brings me back to sounds like a good mix of 80’s rock and early punk. 

The music video for this song is a mix of wonderfully awkward dancing from Owen himself, and has the classic VHS grain texture overlaid atop it. 

“Mother I Love Satan” by Sick Thoughts. Video posted on YouTube by Total Punk Records.

I found this song to be a great step and direction for this whole album. I am excited to see how much of Owen’s charm will pull me into this new release and how much will be enjoyable. 

Sick Thoughts has brought a lot of joy to the punk rock scene, at least for me, and I hope this new track will provide some brightness to your day too.

Music News and Interviews

Clinton Kane “Chicken Tendies” Song Review

I recently came to know the true meaning of “Chicken Tendies” by Clinton Kane. The title “Chicken Tendies” was given to this track as a joke, but once Clinton Kane decided to officially release this song he wanted it to sound as real as possible and the genuine message behind it to remain serious.

It’s about his mother, who he had a rocky relationship with and how he felt about not being close with his mom. However, the impact of her passing influenced the song that allowed Clinton Kane to jump-start his music career. 

The song is sweet and melancholic on its own. About hoping that his mom is in a happier place now. 

“Chicken Tendies” got its title inspired by the verse, “I thought I caught a glimpse of me and you |  In our kitchen, where I cooked your favorite food | And if I’m being honest, I was a fool |  So say the word and I’ll come running back to you”

He teased the verse on the internet and fans flooded the comments about naming the song chicken tenders as a joke. However, his mom’s favorite food was in fact chicken tenders.  

The sentiments and stories that go behind a lot of musicians’ songs it what I love about being a fan. Music can teach you so much about someone’s past and trauma without them having to sit you down and explicitly tell you. A lot of the time you don’t realize that an amazing song could have stemmed from a hard time in an artist’s life.

My favorite verse of the song is the beginning. “I saw someone who looks just like you |  In the back seat, with her hand out the sunroof | I swear it was the dress that I gave you |  And I wonder, is your favorite color still blue?“

It’s moments when you start seeing someone you lost touch with everywhere you go, that make moving on that much more difficult.

He describes that the dress he saw someone wearing was the exact dress he gave her. You can’t help but get lost in the past when you think you’ve seen someone you once had a strong relationship with. Especially in his case, if it was his own mother. 

The song is simple and sweet. Clinton Kane’s vocals are powerful and passionate and his pain is almost tangible. 

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next from Clinton Kane and how his music journey progresses.

Check out the music video:

Blog Music News and Interviews

“Nana” (2001) – An Anime that Refined Rock Music

“Nana” is an anime that was released in 2001 which centered around two girls, both named Nana. They meet when they end up sitting next to each other on the train to Tokyo. Nana K. is on the way to Tokyo for art school and the other Nana O. Is on the way to Tokyo to pursue her career as a musician. 

Coincidentally, the two end up signing a lease to be roommates without knowing ahead of time. Their personalities are complete opposites and that dynamic is what makes the show so unique.

Nana O. Is the lead singer of a rock band called Black Stones, or BLAST, an up-and-coming punk band.  Nana O.’s boyfriend, Ren, is the guitarist of a famous pop-rock band called TrapNest. A band of which Nana K. is a huge fan.

Essentially to keep things short, Nana K. and Nana O. both get caught up in the music industry as the two get more entangled with the behind-the-scenes of BLAST and TrapNest. 

Centering around Rock Music?

Music is a huge aspect of this show and I want to dive a little deeper into it.

I was shocked when I first watched this show that both bands that are featured in this show are huge rock bands and they dress the part too with their abundant piercings, unique hairstyles, and immaculate fashion sense. 

Rock music is not heavily seen in anime and I was curious why the author of the manga decided to make a story about it.

Turns out there is a Rock and Metal fanbase in Japan. Of course, as we know Rock and Metal to be, it really focuses on the authenticity of the music. The instruments. Being able to break out of the typical conformity of a daily modest lifestyle. 

I wasn’t really into Rock music at all when I started this show, but as I continued hearing their voices and sound as bands grew on me.


Over the course of the show, we see Nana K. go from being Nana O.’s roommate and groupie to becoming an important part of BLAST’s life. She impacts each band member in a different way. What I love about the show is that we get to see BLAST grow as a band from newbies to selling-out shows.

The musical component of this show is amazing too. It really exposes what it is like to be a musician and how the lives of people that have relationships with these musicals are impacted. How the media influences public opinion toward these bands.

The Black Stones or BLAST has four members: Nana Osaki (vocals), Nobuo Terashima (guitar), Shinichi Okazaki (bass), and Yasushi Takagi (drums)

TrapNest also has four members:  Reira Serizawa (vocals), Ren Honjo (guitar), Takumi Ichinose (bass), and Naoki Fujieda (drums).

Although the anime is a lot more than what I covered if you’re in it for the music check out this video with the full soundtrack.

If the premise seems interesting and you want to watch the anime, check it out on any anime platform or read the manga too.

Music News and Interviews

Songs That Have a Hold on Me – “Remember When” by Wallows

I’m back with another installation of this series. Like I said in the first post in this series about Clairo – “Remember When” is Wallows’ third most listened-to song, and it’s popularity is well deserved. the reason it has taken over my mind.

I’ve written a lot about Wallows because they are my favorite band, so of course, I’m here to write about another one of their songs that has a strong grip on me.

It’s not just that this song is written by Wallows, the instrumentals in “Remember When” evoke a dormant nostalgia that feels like one specific moment in the past. It’s almost like reliving your favorite period of life through a song. 

“Pleaser,” which I wrote a post about, used to be my favorite song by them for years, but the second I heard “Remember When” live my entire perspective changed. 

From the start, the electric guitar and drum intro sucks you in entirely.  The rhythm is dynamic and upbeat–simple but so inventive.

It was released in 2019, however, there is a distinct 2016 or 2017 sentimentality to it. The instrumentals have probably the most simple composition when it comes to mind. Drums, electric guitar, and bass yet there’s something magical and melancholic about it. 

My favorite verse in the song is “I can still see you at the place out there when I close my eyes |  Do you remember when we felt like the only two alive? | Don’t let me be one of the people that seek a lost romance |  Would you go and do it all over again, given a chance?” 

The emotions behind these lyrics and the line ‘do you remember when we felt like the only two alive?’ are so powerful. It brings out this sadness and longing for such a happy time in your life. 

Along with the composition, the title itself, “Remember When” is nostalgic too. So many great stories start with the phrase ‘remember when’. 

Unfortunately, the only downside of this song is that it’s only 2 and a half minutes long; it’s short and sweet but easy to keep on repeat.

If you ever get the chance, take my suggestion and listen to this sound on full blast with the windows down at 2 am or midnight. It will for sure make you feel something.

Check out the music video for “Remember When”:

Miscellaneous Music News and Interviews

Songs That Have a Hold on Me – “Amoeba” by Clairo

I have a few select songs constantly on replay and I thought why not make a series covering them?

I’m starting a series about songs that have a death grip on my mind and we’re starting off with “Amoeba” by none other than Clairo.

Yes, it is one of her most listened-to songs and that’s probably why it has such a hold on me.

Initially, when Clairo’s sophomore album “Sling” was released, I was drawn to the song title as a Biologist. However, it was the meaning behind the song and the catchy guitar melody that got me hooked.

Aspects of the song were described as what it feels like to be drunk, with this bounciness of background instrumentals. 

What I particularly love about this song is the lyricism and how many of the lyrics could be taken in multiple ways. It’s a song that Clairo took a creative risk with compared to her first album with less direct lyrics and it paid off. 

Clairo describes the track as being about what it feels like to navigate a toxic relationship or an uncomfortable social outing.

Yet the song is also about how she got so caught up with her career when she was first put into the spotlight and how she often forgot to keep in touch with her family and friends because of how drained and chaotic her life got.

The title amoeba actually related to the single-celled microorganism as well as meaning to change or alter in Greek. As a result, the track about Clairo shifting her lifestyle after realizing it was not the healthiest was given a fitting title. 

The piano chords along with the bubbly guitar instrumentals and soft vocals give the whole track an airy feeling. The drums kick in during the chorus and give the song an overall groovy funky beat.

The lyrics that hit the most are the verse “Aren’t you glad that you reside in a hell and in disguise? |  Nobody yet everything, a pool to shed your memory |  Could you say you’ve even tried? You haven’t called your family twice | I can hope tonight goes differently, but I show up to the party just to leave” 

Especially when we get into a new routine or start a new opportunity for the first time like a new school year or a new job it’s not hard to immerse ourselves in it. 

It happened to me last Fall when I finally got to experience college in person again. I was so caught up with school and events that I would often forget to call my parents.

I feel the song’s most underrated verse is towards the end. “Pulling back, I tried to find the point of wasting precious time | I sip and toast to normalcy, a fool’s way into jealousy |  I mock and imitate goodbyes when I know that I can’t deny | That I’ll be here forever-while, I show up to the party just to leave.”

Though all the lyrics in this song are super relatable if you’ve experienced anything similar, this verse hits the hardest. When you’re trying to blend in at a social gathering mentally count the minutes you’ve been there. Pretending you’re having fun when in reality you want to leave. You’re jealous of the people leaving early but you want to put on a facade that you’re staying longer to enjoy your time there. 

What I learned from this track is to prioritize your mental health and check in with those around you even if you are having the time of your life. It’s easy to be distracted but it’s still important to prioritize your needs at the same time.