Photo: Daniel Reichert
Jen Shyu On New Album 'Zero Grasses: Ritual For The Losses,' Overcoming Grief & Discrimination In Enlightened Spaces
On her new album, 'Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses,' vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu gazes unflinchingly into the maw of grief and discrimination
It’s a fact: Asian people face discrimination in America. And as composer and multi-Instrumentalist Jen Shyu points out, it happens everywhere—including the conservatories and concert halls on the coasts.
The comments and microaggressions in those spaces come fast and hard. At an upstate artist's residency, she was called "an Asian Meredith Monk." The vocalist/composer is frequently mistaken for various musicians of Asian descent—and vice versa. One time, a composer approached her and complimented her bass playing—and Shyu replied that she wasn't Linda Oh.
"He scurried away like a rat!" Shyu tells GRAMMY.com with a sharp laugh. "And I just wish I could remember his name!"
Shyu takes these instances in stride and files them away in her memory bank. This is apparent on her new album, Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses, which came out on Pi Recordings on April 12. A harrowing-yet-beautiful grief journey, the album braids the shock of Shyu's father's death with memories of racism and sexism from throughout her life.
On tunes like "Lament for Breonna Taylor," "When I Have Power" and "Father Slipped Into Eternal Dream," personal and global sorrow pool into one. "I just think these themes are interlinked," she explains, in the context of a deadly pandemic and continuing police violence. "You kind of see how differently that manifests for people, depending on your privilege." But by examining both micro and macro grief through the same lens, Shyu sees both with more clarity—and by communing with Zero Grasses, listeners can too.
GRAMMY.com caught up with Jen Shyu over Zoom to discuss the traumatic experiences that informed Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses and how she continues to rise above daily challenges in her field.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
This album is about grief in various forms. The pandemic and police killings add new dimensions to global sorrow.
I just think these themes are interlinked. You kind of see how differently that manifests for people, depending on your privilege. Now we're seeing it with Daunte Wright. It's frightening and can be paralyzing. You see no justice being served. It's hard to fight through that and carry on.
When my friend Joko [Raharjo and his family were] killed in a car crash, his mother and I were texting and she wrote, "I've cried all the tears." This is all in Indonesian. "I don't have any more tears left. But we still have an obligation in this life. Those of us who are still alive still have an obligation in this world." That has really stayed with me.
The word for "obligation" is wajib in Indonesian. So, indeed. That is the effort to carry on and inspire and comfort.
I can connect the dots as to how a family dying in a car wreck would compel you to express yourself in an unvarnished way. Loss makes it incumbent to tell people the things you always meant to tell them because they might not be around tomorrow.
Yeah, absolutely. It comes from life experience. I think this will always be part of my artistic output—immediacy. Wanting, being hungry for that rawness. When I created "When I Have Power"—where I talk about the young boy calling me a chk—that was written in August or September of 2019. That was before the pandemic. And the text was from when I was 15; it was from my diary.
So, it's like: "Oh, that's always been there." It just happened that this is coming out when there have been incidents of violence [reported] in the media. These instances of violence have finally been shown. That feeling of anti-Asian racism has always been there. All these things—if they stay hidden and remain unspoken, nothing's going to be done. Nothing's going to change.
Just to speak these things out: First, it makes people aware, and second, if it's visible, then OK, we can do something.
Jen Shyu. Photo © Marco Giugliarelli for Civitella Ranieri Foundation, 2019.
I'm curious as to where this album fits into your larger body of work.
This is my eighth finished recording. The first featured standards done in an unusual way. I did a couple, then, that were just digital. You can find these on Bandcamp. But then, when I started working with Pi, the first album was a duo with [bassist] Mark Dresser, who's amazing.
After that, I went to Indonesia right away! I got my Fulbright. That was 2011. I became a dual citizen of East Timor since my mom is from there. I came back and did [2015's] Sounds and Cries of the World. It was personal, song-to-song, which I recorded after producing my first solo theatrical work called Solo Rites: Seven Breaths that involved a lot of that music. It was autobiographical in the sense that it was about a woman on this journey to, first, her homeland, and then to all different areas and what she discovers. Very abstract, though.
That was the first time I connected the theatrical and the dramatic with the musical aspects of my vision. Definitely, an early influence on that would be Meredith Monk, whom I got to meet when I was at Stanford. She was kind of the first example of that for me.
Now, funny story! [sharp laugh] This is evidence of what one goes through as an Asian artist. There was this residency I was doing and this very famed composer—more in the classical world—he was at that same residency. I think this may have been at Yaddo, which is an artist residency upstate in Saratoga Springs.
We often do these presentations for each other. It's all voluntary ... So, I presented something and this composer came up to me after. He was like, "Oh, Jen, that was amazing. Your voice is so incredible. You're like an Asian Meredith Monk!"
And I was like, "Oh, thank you! Yeah, she's great!" Because he clearly meant it as a compliment. And then I thought about it: "Oh, I don't know about that!" So, yeah, that was pretty interesting.
Do you get patronizing comments like that often?
All the time. Oh my god! All the time. In different forms. There was a manager who's a veteran. I won't mention her name. She had told me, "Oh, yes, I looked at your work. Ostensibly, you'd be a perfect client for me, but I just signed a koto virtuoso and I think there might be some overlap there."
[loud laugh] I looked her up and she's not a singer. She's not a composer. She just plays koto, and she does some interesting projects. She's great! But not the same, you know? The only thing we had in common was "Asian woman." Alright.
There are so many examples. First of all, I always get mistaken for Linda Oh, and she gets mistaken for me. Susie Ibarra. We get mistaken for each other. There are so few of us, perhaps. That's a big thing. It's the white male gaze. That's nothing against you personally. A lot of the gaze is from that perspective.
[Being mistaken for Linda Oh], that was at a Henry Threadgill concert.
An academic, learned crowd.
[This guy] introduced himself to me and said, "I'm so-and-so. I'm a musician. I just wanted to say: You are an amazing bassist." I was like, "I'm so sorry, I'm not Linda Oh." And he literally ran away. He scurried away like a rat! And I just wish I could remember his name! It's too bad.
It's even from friends. Recently, a friend just sent me a link to a video that an amazing gayageum player made. She's come to a lot of my shows. She's from Korea; she went to New England Conservatory. Amazing player, and I love her. She made this beautifully edited video that had her singing and playing.
This friend of mine sent me this video and said, "Hey, have you seen this yet? It reminds me a lot of you and your work." It kind of makes sense. She's been following me and she said I've been influencing her. But I kind of just told him, "You know, I've often been told this." People say, "Oh, I saw Bora Yoon and I thought of you!" She's a friend of mine also! But very different! So different!
It's this grouping together that's frustrating. People can't see the difference. It's like, "All Asian people look alike." This is what we're up against. Not only are we grouped and stereotyped, but if that's already what people can or cannot see, then how is our music going to even be appreciated?
I’m an artist who really embraces my ancestry. I go deep into it. That’s my path. But I know how frustrating it must be for other Asian artists who people might expect that of them. They just want to make music, you know? It’s just being the other. I’ve never let it stop me because I’m so hard-headed. I just go forward.
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5 Artists Showing The Future Of AAPI Representation In Rap: Audrey Nuna, TiaCorine & More
A growing number of Asian American and Pacific Islander artists are exploring how hip-hop can help them meaningfully express their multiculturalism — and they're being embraced for doing so.
Is it possible for an Asian American rapper to achieve widespread commercial success? In the 2016 documentary Bad Rap, no one could be too sure.
At that point, some firsts for the community turned out to be false starts: In the ‘90s, Mountain Brothers was the first Asian American rap group to sign to a major label, but left just two years later. In the early aughts, MC Jin lost critical career momentum he gained from his impressive winning streak on "106 & Park’s" Freestyle Fridays, when Ruff Ryders delayed his debut album release by more than a year. As Miley Cyrus sparked a national conversation about cultural appropriation in hip-hop, Bad Rap’s subjects faced questions regarding whether they’re just as guilty as Cyrus, or whether their music was helping break the “model minority” stereotype.
Since then, hip-hop, a Black music tradition, has spawned countless global scenes, bringing contemporary rap across the Pacific and beyond. Rap taking hold in Asia can still seem contentious, whether dissecting K-pop's use of the genre or revisiting the viral songs that landed Awkwafina in Bad Rap. But, there is also a growing number of artists who are figuring out how hip-hop can help them meaningfully express and explore their multiculturalism — and are being embraced by the music industry for doing so.
In 2013, Kanye West’s jarring Yeezus changed Audrey Nuna’s music tastes for good, encouraging her to check out hip-hop artists like A Tribe Called Quest and MF DOOM. From there, she "started making what I wanted to hear," as she told Pigeons and Planes.
Nuna prefers to call herself a singer, to better reflect the stylistic versatility throughout her 2021 debut a liquid breakfast. Still, the "Robitussin flow" in "Comic Sans" is undeniable — to where Jack Harlow responded to her cold email and hopped on the song’s remix.
The making of a liquid breakfast made Nuna realize that she never has to search far to find inspiration. On "Blossom," Nuna’s grandmother laughs as she tells her about how, while fleeing the Korean War, she woke up from a nap on the migrant trail to find that her travel group — including her family — accidentally left her behind.
In the future, Nuna hopes to feature more Korean instrumentation as she channels her current influence, Radiohead. As Nuna told W, "We’re sitting here, living, because our grandparents were able to survive."
"She fell in love with the lifestyle of a pop star," pH-1 raps in "Yuppie Ting," the third track off his 2021 album But For Now Leave Me Alone. As he boasts of the Louis Vuitton he wears and the Michelin star meals he eats, pH-1 alternates between rapping in Korean and English with impressive precision, his flow skating over BlackDoe’s garage-inspired production.
Behind the scenes, pH-1 has felt more torn between the Korean and Western music industries than his music lets on. Even Jay Park, who has followed pH-1 since he moved to Korean and competed on rap talent show "Show Me the Money," once told him to write more in Korean. But for pH-1, to write exclusively in Korean would be to deny his Stateside upbringing in Long Island and Boston, and how he, like so many Korean Americans, naturally alternate between Korean and English in conversation.
"If I want to ‘financially succeed’ in Korea, I would have to make a song that’s very Korean-style. But that’s not me," pH-1 said to fellow artist Eric Nam in 2019. Instead, the more glittering spots of But For Now Leave Me Alone showcase pH-1 to be the experienced globetrotter he is.
In Bad Rap, Rekstizzy films a music video where, at a cookout, he squeezes picnic condiments not onto hot dogs, but the backsides of dancing Black women — for a song called "God Bless America." In his larger quest to become the "Korean rapper" he dreamed of in elementary school, he figured that outrageously offensive visuals were a must." "Whatever we do, people are gonna talk shit about us ‘cause we’re Asian," he says in the documentary.
Straddling the Asian and American aspects of one’s identity can seem impossible. But now, years after Bad Rap and after guest appearances in Adventure Time and Beef, Rekstizzy seems to have figured out an ideal balance. Mostly, he doesn’t seem nearly as pressed over proving that he’s American.
His own pop culture references, crude as they may be ("May cop a lewd body pillow on Etsy"), speak volumes. His music’s debaucherous nature recalls a wide swath of U.S. regional rap styles, from the Bay Area ("요리 (Yori)"), to the Midwest ("Mal Do An Dweh") and Atlanta ("Hentai"). As for his attempts to rap entire verses in Korean for the first time, apparently the jokes write themselves. As he and Bad Rap co-star Dumbfoundead realized while recording "Mal Do An Dweh," their takes on Korean slang sound hopelessly out of date, because as the latter realized, "We communicate in Korean more with our parents than our friends who speak in Korean."
Spence Lee is the child of a first-generation Chinese American and a Vietnamese refugee. But for much of his earlier material, his ethnic origins were hard to discern on record alone.
Spence Lee’s previous moniker, Shotta Spence, honored the "Dirty Jersey" that raised him — more specifically, the Caribbean supporters he gained before he relocated to New York, modeled for Yeezy, and gained producer Mike WiLL Made It as a mentor. That influence also appears all over his last full-length, 2019’s 1012; on songs like "Bounce," his cadence is equally inspired by reggae and trap.
Spence still shouts out how he came up with "shottas" and "rastas" on the autobiographical single, 2022’s "On God," one of his first under a new moniker bearing his family name. But that fact makes up just one chapter in his larger journey to capturing both the attention of Mike WiLL and 88rising, who jointly released the single. Mike WiLL explained to Joysauce how he and 88rising founder Sean Miyashiro saw "how Spence could be the bridge for many cultures, being from Jersey \[and\] into fashion, understanding his history, having principles and morals."
But Spence perhaps puts his new direction best in "On God," when he raps, "I do all this s— for my mom."
TiaCorine (whose father is Black and Japanese, and whose mother is part of the Shoshone Nation) ends her 2022 breakout album, I Can’t Wait with a breakup anthem dedicated to the poor music exec who counted her out. In "You’re Fired," she raps to keep from crying and sounding completely helpless: "You never listen to my songs, I’m always doing something wrong."
Today, her sly single "FreakyT" has 21 million Spotify streams and a Latto remix, it’s impossible to imagine how the situation in "You’re Fired" must have played out in real life.
TiaCorine’s music is Southern rap by way of Hatsune Miku — and it makes perfect sense, in an age where streaming has turned both hip-hop and anime (two of her biggest influences) into Stateside juggernauts. Her music captures the zeitgeist, though it also comes from an authentic place: While her father played formative ‘80s and ‘90s hip-hop in his Range Rover, her mother blared pop-rock instead. "That goes into my music — of me, just being free. Me just being confident in myself," TiaCorine told Preme magazine. Thanks to that confidence, mainstream success not only seems possible, but inevitable.
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Photo: Courtesy of Henry Lau
Press Play: Henry Lau Shows Off His Musical Prowess With A Dynamic Performance Of "MOONLIGHT"
Genre-bending singer Henry Lau uses a loop station to perform his single "MOONLIGHT," incorporating the violin, cello and both electric and acoustic guitar.
With his single "MOONLIGHT," Henry Lau refuses to be burdened by his past relationships. Now, he's turning a new leaf, dancing carefree under the night sky, regardless of the negative emotions he might feel.
"I'm waking up in a daze, get it out of my face/ The sun is shining on every move that I make," the singer reveals in the second verse. "So, let's get to forgetting everything that went wrong/ Everybody here, we been crying too long/ We can dance about it to our favorite song."
In this episode of Press Play, Lau performs "MOONLIGHT" from a mansion rooftop during sunset. He constructs the entire song using a loop station, playing a violin, cello and electric and acoustic guitars — one of his signature performance techniques that prompted his nickname, "one-man band."
Lau released "MOONLIGHT" in January — marking his first single in two years — via Monster Entertainment, the label he founded alongside his brother Clinton. He released another single, "Real Love Still Exists," two months later; the track features Malaysian R&B singer Yuna.
Watch the video above to watch Henry Lau's impressive loop station performance of "MOONLIGHT," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.
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Photo: Courtesy of Nat Myers
ReImagined: Nat Myers Offers A Bluesy Rendition Of John Prine's Final Song, "I Remember Everything"
Korean-American blues singer Nat Myers honors John Prine by transforming the late country great's final song into an upbeat, acoustic folk track.
On April 7, 2020, the country world had to say goodbye to beloved icon John Prine. Two months later, his final song was posthumously released, and it was a poignant one: "I Remember Everything," a reflection on a well-lived, well-loved life.
"I remember everything/ Things I can't forget/ The way you turned and smiled on me/ On the night that we first met," Prine sings in the chorus. "And I remember every night, your ocean eyes of blue/ I miss you in the morning light like roses miss the dew."
In this episode of ReImagined, Kentucky native Nat Myers performs a cover of "I Remember Everything." Known for his nimble picking style, the Korean-American singer performs the song on just an acoustic guitar. He remains mostly faithful to Prine's original recording, but increases the tempo for a more folk-inspired sound.
Aside from covers, Myers has a blooming career writing original blues music. On June 23, he will release his newest album, Yellow Peril, via Ease Eye Sound, an independent record label and studio in Nashville, Tennessee, owned and operated by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys.
Press play on the video above to watch Nat Myers' cover of John Prine's "I Remember Everything," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of ReImagine.
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15 Songs That Will Make You Dance And Cry At The Same Time, From "Hey Ya!" To "Dancing On My Own"
Whether it's "Tears of a Clown" or "Tears in the Club," take a listen to some of the most sneakily sad songs by Outkast, TLC, Avicii and more.
In 2003, OutKast scored their second No. 1 hit with "Hey Ya!" The timeless track has an upbeat energy that makes you want to shake it like a polaroid picture — until you happen to catch its rather unhappy lyrics.
"Are we so in denial when we know we're not happy here?" André 3000 sings on the second verse. The line that follows may sum up its contrasting nature: "Y'all don't wanna hear me, you just wanna dance."
The ability to make listeners feel (and physically react) to a wide range of emotions is part of the genius of songwriting. Tunes like "Hey Ya!" — a sad narrative disguised by an infectious melody — is one trick that has been mastered by Outkast, R.E.M., Smokey Robinson, Robyn and many more.
If you've ever happily boogied to a beat before realizing that the lyrics on top are actually a big bummer, you're certainly not alone. BBC and Apple Music both call such tracks Sad Bangers, a fitting name for what's become an unofficial genre over the past half-century.
In light of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, GRAMMY.com compiled a list of 15 songs that will both get you in your feelings and get your body moving.
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles — "The Tears of a Clown" (1967)
The upbeat music on this Motown classic was written by Stevie Wonder, a 25-time GRAMMY winner who is deft at crafting tearjerkers that will tease your body into joyful dancing. The bassoon-bottomed song registers at 128 beats per minute, a tempo that's still favored by modern dance music producers. So when Smokey sings, "The tears of a clown/When there's no one around," you'd be forgiven for also welling up just a little bit while you're in the groove.
Gloria Gaynor — "Never Can Say Goodbye" (1975)
Gloria Gaynor reimagined the Jackson 5's 1971 pop hit "Never Can Say Goodbye" for the disco era. The sweeping string arrangements and trotting beat helped to fill dance floors, and to make the poignant song about holding onto a love of her own. Other cover versions by Isaac Hayes and the Communards also capture the contradictory vibe.
Tears For Fears — "Mad World" (1983)
British duo Tears For Fears became internationally known after outfitting their first danceable hit with a depressing and dramatic chorus that's hard to shake even 40 years after its release: "I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad, the dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had." Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith would later release more uplifting fare, such as "Everybody Wants to Rule The World" and "Sowing the Seeds of Love."
Kate Bush — "Running Up That Hill" (1985)
Kate Bush has had three twirls through charts around the world with "Running Up That Hill," beginning with its 1985 release and then as an unlikely Summer Olympics closing ceremony song in 2012.
"And if I only could, I'd make a deal with God/And I'd get him to swap our places/Be running up that road/be running up that hill/With no problems," she sings in the chorus of the racing track, longing to be more worry-free.
More recently, a placement in the Netflix drama Stranger Things in 2022 earned the weepy, minor key-led dance number a whole new generation of fans. The English artist was recently named a 2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
Midnight Oil — "Beds Are Burning" (1988)
Midnight Oil lead singer Peter Garrett channeled the rage he felt from early climate change and the lack of Aboriginal land rights in the Australian Outback into "Beds Are Burning." The powerful dance tune flooded airwaves and dance floors around the world in the late '80s, reaching No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
"How can we dance when the Earth is turning?" he sings in the rousing chorus. "How do we sleep while the beds are burning?"
Garrett clearly had a personal connection to the song's yearning message: He later dedicated his life to environmental activism as the leader of the Australian Conservation Foundation, and became an elected Member of Australia's House of Representatives.
Crystal Waters — "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" (1991)
A house music hit about a woman without a home, "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" helped New Jersey singer Crystal Waters achieve international success despite a somewhat somber subject. A subsequent parody on the sketch comedy series "In Living Color" drew attention to the contrast of having happy and upbeat instrumentation with dispiriting lyrics.
"She's just like you and me/But she's homeless, she's homeless," rings the chorus. "As she stands there singing for money/La da dee la dee da…"
R.E.M. — "Shiny Happy People" (1991)
This upbeat collaboration is between rock group R.E.M. and B-52's singer Kate Pierson.The jangly guitar pop makes you want to clap your hands and stomp your feet, but the lyrics make you question if everything is indeed quite so shiny and happy.
The song is rumored to be about the massacre in China's Tiananmen Square, because the phrase "Shiny Happy People" appeared on propaganda posters. Pierson isn't so sure about that, though.
"I can't imagine that R.E.M. was thinking at the time, Oh, we want this song to be about Chinese government propaganda," she said in a 2021 interview with Vulture. "It was supposed to be shiny and happy. It was a positive thing all-around."
TLC — "Waterfalls" (1994)
"Waterfalls" was a worldwide hit for TLC in 1994, thanks to its sing-along chorus and funky bassline. The song's insistent bounce softens a firm lyrical warning that pulls people back from the edge: "Don't go chasing waterfalls/Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to/I know that you're gonna have it your way or nothing at all/But I think you're moving too fast."
"We wanted to make a song with a strong message — about unprotected sex, being promiscuous, and hanging out in the wrong crowd," Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas shared with The Guardian in 2018. "The messages in 'Waterfalls' hit home. I think that's why it's our biggest hit to date."
Outkast — "Hey Ya!" (2003)
André 3000 sings about loveless relationships to a whimsical, time-shifting dance beat on this Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping smash. The seriousness of the song — which André 3000 once explained is about "the state of relationships in the 2000s" — got lost among many listeners.*
Its unhappy lyrics were masked by André's peppy singing, as well as the song's jangly guitar and keyboard-led groove, which infectiously doubles up in speed at the end of every four beats. Even Outkast themselves couldn't help acknowledging the song's juxtaposition in a 2021 tweet.
Robyn — "Dancing On My Own" (2010)
A penultimate example of a sad banger is "Dancing On My Own" by Swedish pop star Robyn. The rueful song — a top 10 hit in multiple countries — commands you to shake your stuff, while also picturing yourself watching your ex move on at the club. Calum Scott's 2016 cover really brings out the sadness that can be obscured by Robyn's uptempo version.
"Said, I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her, oh no/And I'm right over here, why can't you see me?" Robyn sings in the chorus. "And I'm giving it my all/ But I'm not the girl you're taking home."
Fun. — "Some Nights" (2012)
fun. (the trio of Jack Antonoff, Andrew Dost and Nate Ruess) is best known for the zeitgeist-grabbing pop-rock power ballad "We Are Young," which is about the relentlessly positive enthusiasm of youth out on the town. The title track to their 2012 album Some Nights (which contains "We Are Young") is a much dancier, yet sadder song.
"What do I stand for?" Ruess asks as your feet shuffle along to the beat. "Most nights, I don't know anymore."
Avicii — "Wake Me Up" (2013)
Avicii collaborated with soulful pop singer Aloe Blacc for this worldwide chart-topper that is considered one of EDM's peak anthems. The slapping beat masks the track's sad, self-reflective lyrics about being lost.
The Swedish DJ/producer's 2018 death by suicide adds an even heavier air to Blacc's impassioned chorus: "So wake me up when it's all over/When I'm wiser and I'm older/All this time I was finding myself, and I/I didn't know I was lost."
Flume featuring Kai — "Never Be Like You" (2015)
"Never Be Like You" isn't the fastest cut in Australian DJ/producer Flume's bass-heavy discography, but the wispy track still has an irresistible bump to it. Canadian singer Kai begs her lover not to leave her ("How do I make you wanna stay?"), but her lovely tone still manages to keep the song hopeful.
FKA twigs featuring The Weekend — "Tears In The Club" (2022)
Perhaps the most overt selection of this entire list is "Tears In The Club," which finds FKA twigs and The Weeknd taking to the dancefloor to shake off the vestiges of a bad relationship. The singer/dancer has been candid about being in an abusive relationship, and the song is a lowkey bop that's buoyed by despairing chants such as, "I might die on the beat, love."
Everything But The Girl — "Nothing Left to Lose" (2023)
Nearly 30 years after DJ/producer Todd Terry helped introduce Everything But the Girl to the international dance music community with a remix of "Missing," the duo leaned into their electronic side on "Nothing Left to Lose." A single from their first album in 24 years, Fuse, "Nothing Left to Lose" features a squelching electronic bassline that contrasts the song's helpless yearning.
"I need a thicker skin/ This pain keeps getting in/ Tell me what to do/ 'Cause I've always listened to you," the pair's Tracy Thorne sings on the opening verse. Later, she makes a demand that fittingly sums up the conflicts of a quintessential sad banger: "Kiss me while the world decays."
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