Following years of singles, Indonesian singer/songwriter Stephanie Poetri returns with her long-awaited debut project, AM:PM. As you might expect, there has been a solid amount of hype for AM:PM, as this release also sees the 88Rising star linking up with high-profile collaborators to provide fans with polished and thoughtful tracks to decorate their spring playlists. Though three of the EP's six tracks have been already released as singles, this time around Stephanie offers her fans a cohesive project bursting with emotive potential and her signature creative charm. Embodying two juxtaposed themes of morning and night, AM:PM sees Stephanie Poetri taking listeners on a conceptual journey not just through time - but also through her mind.
You likely know of Stephanie Poetri from her 2019 mega-hit "I Love You 3000," but AM:PM sees the young creative proving that her artistry extends far beyond one hit. The project begins with tracks like "Daydreaming" and "IRL," two songs that convey the upbeat exuberance and excitement behind the morning time. While the former is a lofty and ethereal pop cut full of serene string tracks and dulcet vocal harmonies, the latter is far jazzier and R&B-inspired. "IRL" features some of Stephanie Poetri's strongest vocals yet, with her performance consistently staying bright and powerful even as her voice approaches her vocal register's ceiling.
AM:PM steers towards more contemplative tracks with "3PM" embodying a down-tempo mid-day rumination on being stuck inside your head while overwhelmed by the world outside your room. This track is definitely one of the more relaxed moments on the project, but it helps pave the way for "How We Used To" and "Selfish." These two songs are concerned with self-reflection and meditations on past relationships, with each track featuring minimalistic percussion tracks to serve as its foundation. "Selfish" highlights Stephanie Poetri's affinity for emotionally charged anthems, as the relaxed electro-pop track is full of refreshing and earnest lines like its chorus, "I don't want to be selfish / but I am when it comes to you." Poetri's dynamic vocal talents take the driver's seat here, with her performance decorated with occasional vocal inflections that make for a melody that is both clever and infectiously catchy.
Poetri reaches her fever pitch on AM:PM with the final track "Paranoia," an introspective song where she illustrates the chaos inside her brain - anxiously panicking from the cloistered safety of her room. "Paranoid" is full of subtle musical symbolism, with mechanical percussion resembling the clock-like claustrophobia of time closing in, and ambient vocal reverberation that sounds as if listeners are physically inside her head alongside her. On the meaning behind AM:PM’s focus track, Poetri notes that “it’s basically about when everything is going so well, too well that you’re just waiting for the moment it doesn’t and that ends up being the issue - just being too in your head.” Released alongside AM:PM, the video for "Paranoia" reflects this interesting dualistic dilemma well by weaving together scenes of Poetri looking pensive one moment, and frantic the next.
Though only her first project, Stephanie Poetri proves herself to be a formidable rising pop talent with the release of AM:PM. Though only 20, she has managed to break free from the shadow cast by her 2019 hit - flourishing into one of the most promising young artists on 88Rising's already-incredible roster. AM:PM highlights Stephanie Poetri's seasoned songwriting talent and natural vocal prowess in a way that will make her truly an exciting artist to watch in the upcoming months. Though her fans are likely ravenous for more music, AM:PM will certainly tide them over until she makes another successful return.