Yaeji holds a distinctive place amongst many of her house contemporaries. It is a carved-out niche derived from her confessional lyricism and effortlessly cool production, resulting in a world that blurs the line between dancefloor bangers and introspective dream pop gems. These juxtaposing ideals bubbles to the surface in "WAKING UP DOWN."
"WAKING UP DOWN" is deceptively chill. In trademark Yaeji fashion, the production is crisp and instantaneously infectious. Her lackadaisical vocals, which drift between English and Korean, float across her bubbling soundscape as if pushed out with minimal effort. Yet, what rises to the surface is not a carefree club-ready hit but a track of someone barely keeping it together.
"I got waking up down / I got cooking down / I got making a list and tripping down / I got hydrating down," assures Yaeji, and in turn, herself. The list reads out like someone who is still defining the basics of coming-of-age, of what it means to be a living, breathing "adult." Yet, the Korean vocals, when translated, tell a different story. "It's not easy / There's no such thing as easy / if I'm lazy / They all say it's my fault," confesses Yaeji in a verse that showcases someone just at the point of breaking.
Yaeji's unique gift for tackling themes typically unexplored in dance music is one that can easily go unnoticed. And in many ways, "WAKING UP DOWN," a track that deals with presenting a surface-level control of life to the outside world while battling one's own inner turmoil, is the perfect crystallization of that sentiment.
If the existential nature of the track is too much for you on this particular afternoon, you can at least find solace in the single's joyous animated music video, which calls to mind the heyday of '90s children anime. Plus, there's an adorable dog named Woofa in it.
You can watch the "WAKING UP DOWN" video below. The new single also arrives alongside news that Yaeji will be embarking on tour this summer and her forthcoming mixtape, What We Drew우리가 그려왔던, is expected to release April 2.