Dreamt up across the globe between New York, London and Seoul, Yaeji is able to flex her skills as a true multi-hyphenate artist on her debut album, With a Hammer. Over the 13 tracks presented, this singer, producer, DJ, visual artist and writer takes you on a journey into the depths of her mind as she uses her art to consolidate “a lifetime’s worth of both societal and self-imposed repression”.
Don’t be fooled by “For Granted”, the second track on the album that puts an upbeat, club-ready spin on Yaeji’s inner monologue, questioning whether she is taking her life for granted. Behind the glitch sounds and kick beats, this debut album is deeply introspective, but in Yaeji’s own unique way. In a letter to fans accompanying the announcement of this album, Yaeji began tackling her inner demons firstly by writing a story of her and her hammer, a hammer crafted from her anger. As she then went into the studio to record, it was this story that guided her to pen this new album, an album that is quite a distant extension from her club-banger “Raingurl” days. Don’t get us wrong, there are some bangers on With a Hammer, just not in the traditional sense. Take the rhythmically disconcerting track “Fever” for example, or the punk-esque “Michin” with Bangladeshi-American DJ ENAYET.
The tracks on this album show glimpses of other genres, but in true Yaeji style, they evade categorisation. “Passed Me By” could easily be interpreted by a rock band as a head-banging anthem, “Ready or Not” and “Happy” have elements of RnB, yet despite how different influences have impacted the record, there is always a sprinkle of Yaeji’s fun, glitchy, aesthetic. Like a collage of sound hodge-podged together to form one creative sensation.
Yaeji - For Granted (Official Video)Yaeji
“I want to begin this album with intent. I want to take all that I’ve suppressed and let it breathe and live through this process of creation. I want my music to be free” quoted Yaeji in her release letter, and that is exactly what you feel when listening to With a Hammer. You feel weightless, free, lost in time. An intimate and delightful listen, and an instant Qobuzissime!