Album of the week: April 10 – Yaeji

April 10th 2020

Arriving in the midst of a global crisis, WHAT WE DREW 우리가 그려왔던, the first full-length project from Korean-American producer Yaeji, is a timely ode to the blisses of community and the simple joys of domestic life. Carried along by a hazy wistfulness and the diffuse energy of a mixtape, WHAT WE DREW 우리가 그려왔던 straddles the lines between dream pop, woozy hip hop and spacious, DIY house, making some surprising detours from Yaeji’s signature introverted club music into industrial, breakbeat and ambient. With its richly textured bed of chilled-out beats, sparkling melodies, Yaeji’s cozy production style and her ASMR-esque bilingual vocals, WHAT WE DREW 우리가 그려왔던 is more insular and inward-looking than her previous releases, adopting a diaristic quality that spotlights the emotionality of her songwriting. For Yaeji, making music has always been a deeply social and therapeutic exercise, and, with the help of a hand-selected cast of collaborators that reflect the communities she’s built in New York and beyond, she uses these moments of connection to counterbalance the mixtape’s moments of anxiety and loneliness, making the former all the sweeter. Ultimately, it’s Yaeji’s appreciation of community that distinguishes her debut mixtape from other prescribed self-isolation listening during this time. WHAT WE DREW 우리가 그려왔던 is her celebration of all the small pleasures we used to take for granted: family, friendship, routine.

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