Global Asian pop star, Amber Liu, released her highly-anticipated album “y?” on all digital streaming platforms today via EMPIRE. Over the past several weeks, Liu has teased the release of the album with already released hit singles “vegas” plus the Mandarin-language version of “blue” along with the Mandarin-language and English-language versions of “neon”. The music videos for the fourth single off the album, “complicated” was released today on video streaming platforms.
The English and Mandarin version of the music video for “complicated” is melancholic with its slow melody and focuses on conveying Liu’s feelings. The video opens with Liu standing on the shore and looking out into the ocean followed by a sequence of shots of her walking holding flowers. Throughout the rest of the video, the scenery alternates between the ocean and beach which adds to the moody feeling of the songs. The two versions of the track never lose connection as her soft voice makes the listener feel like they are floating and provides them with a space that only belongs to them.
The album also includes tracks “make it better” and the English-language version of “blue” featuring Korean-American rapper Junoflo. With “make it better” Liu has created a catchy pop tune that will entice listeners to get on their feet and dance. Despite it being a song about heartbreak, “make it better” is never daunting, as synth pop beats and an upbeat rhythm characterize the track from beginning to end. In contrast to “make it better”, Liu stays true to her aesthetic and creates a moody atmosphere on the English-language version of “blue.” Joined by Junoflo, his powerful verse compliments Liu as she soothingly sings about heartbreak and loss on this vibey track.
The album features a range of tracks, from love struck dance anthems to heartbroken ballads, all of which were penned by Liu herself. Full of synth pop beats and R&B influence, “y?” is a sonically cohesive effort which showcases Liu’s unique sound and perspective. The vibrant pop melodies throughout “y?” contrast the meaning behind the lyrics. The album is an international project that features global hip-hop artists like Blow Fever, Peniel of BtoB, MaSiWei of Higher Brothers, and Junoflo. Liu’s dynamic ability to create with such diverse artists shows Liu’s status in the music industry. With this album, Liu makes a triumphant return to the music scene and distinguishes herself as a global star.
After cementing her star power in South Korea as a member of the record-breaking electro- pop-based K-pop girl group f(x), Amber returned to her native California for much of 2018. The move signaled a crossover into new audiences and solo success with fans and critics alike raving about her solo body of work. She soon signed with US management company Steel Wool Entertainment and United Talent Agency for US booking before leaving Korea-based SM Entertainment. Just last year, her EP “X” was released and she went on to perform on two back-to-back North American national tours; with the most recent being a 24-city tour in early 2020 with rising artists Justin Park, Meg & Dia and Justice Carradine. The megastar kept busy last year outside of music with visual language learning app, Drops, tapping her to teach Korean to K-pop fans and hosted her own show, “I’ll Ask The Stupid Questions” as an original program with international mobile streaming service, Ficto. Earlier this year, Liu was not slowing down with her international projects when she joined the fourth season of popular national Chinese TV survival reality series, “CHUANG 2021.” As a mentor, she offers her knowledge of what it takes to be an internationally-acclaimed pop idol as the show forms their new Chinese 11-member boy group from 90 contestants who compete to debut into the global market. As a singer-songwriter, she has multiple credits on f(x) hits such as “Goodbye Summer” and her own solo hit “Shake That Brass,” which she performed on the “CHUANG 2021” most recently to rave reviews.
01 neon feat. PENIEL
02 make it better
03 blue feat. Junoflo
06 neon feat. Blow Fever (Mandarin Version)
07 blue feat. MaSiWei (Mandarin Version)
08 complicated (Mandarin Version)
OVERALL RATING: 4 stars