Dedicatedly splitting his time between being one of K-pop septet GOT7 and handling his own label, Team Wang, Jackson Wang technically began his solo career in 2016.
Testing waters with a few Chinese singles, before releasing occasional English track sprinkled throughout three years, it seems that it’s with the release of his much-anticipated debut solo album, ‘Mirrors’, that Jackson Wang’s solo career is set to truly shine.
The release of the eight-track project was preceded by music videos that highlighted various songs, expectedly amping up the excitement for an album that seems to highlight a melancholic depth and wisdom hidden inside the 25-year-old artist-producer, who is well-known for his relatively carefree stage persona.
Opening with ‘Bullet to the Heart’, a catchy track that masks a surprisingly solemn message as Wang takes listeners through a familiar pain of pushing through hurtful situations. This sentiment of surging forward and staying strong through the trials of life seems to be a common thread all throughout the album; one that Jackson clearly works to employ in his life, outside the sphere of music.
Whether on the romantically centred stories of ‘On The Rocks’ or ‘Unless I’m With You’, which highlights Jackson’s lesser-explored vocal talent- the self-confident, conviction-filled anthem ‘对’ (pronounced “Dway”), or on the self-healing heavy beats of ‘Bad Back’ ft. Goldlink, there’s always an air of sincerity that could only have come from a genuine personal connection with lyrics written and the beats produced.
But Jackson definitley saved his best for the tail-end of his debut, as the energy of the album hits its high on ‘Titanic’ ft. Rich Brian.
Undoubtedly the highlight of the record, it’s what can be used to define the word “hype” - a pleasant surprise considering the tragic/romantic image the name of the track conjures up-it’s the kind of music that acts as an unfailing pick-me-up at the end of a bad day. Keeping the enthusiasm going, penultimate track ‘Faded’, is another well-done creation that keeps spirits high, even as the album winds down to a close.
Final track ‘爱 (I Love You 3000 Chinese Version)’ - which also has a collaborative version with Stephanie Poetri, is an end that comes all too soon. With a title that needs no need explanation – as the reference immediately brings a tidal wave of emotions to every Avengers fan as they relive the harrowing end of Endgame and soft, sweetly sung sound the track that works as the perfect end to the rollercoaster of soundscapes explored within ‘Mirrors’.
What’s most impressive about the record- aside from the fact that Jackson managed to work on it while also working with his constantly busy, currently touring group - is the brilliant range of distinct sounds the young artist has managed to cover in eight short tracks ; no track sounds like another and that sets the bar really high for whatever he comes out with next.
Connections of the heart, the career he has worked for and his conviction in seeing himself through the hard journey, and a celebration of his Asian culture to boot, makes up Jackson Wang’s debut album - and it’s hard to find any glaring faults with it barring the slow start of the first few tracks and a wish that the record was longer than just a total of 20 minutes.
Words: Malvika Padin
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