Life Listens: New music by BTS’ J-Hope, Adam Lambert, Kali Uchis, Anni Hung and Kevin Mathews


SINGAPORE – In this weekly column, The Straits Times curates the most buzz-worthy music you need to know about now.

Chart Champ: J-hope – On The Street (with J. Cole)

South Korean rapper J-hope of BTS (left) with American rapper J. Cole. PHOTO: BIGHIT MUSIC

Less than a day after its release on March 3, K-pop group BTS’ rapper J-hope’s new single shot to the top of charts.

The lo-fi hip-hop track – a collaboration with American rapper J. Cole – took the No. 1 spot on the iTunes Top Songs chart in 80 regions around the world, and has racked up more than 3.2 million streams on Spotify in the immediate hours after its release.

J. Cole is one of J-hope’s favourite artistes and On The Street is clearly a meaningful track for both rappers, who speak of their music journey and rise to fame.

The music video, which features J-hope dancing on a subway platform in New York as J. Cole raps, has already garnered over 16 million views on YouTube.

The song is also a bittersweet parting gift for fans as it is likely to be J-hope’s last release before his mandatory military service.

It was announced in February that the K-pop star, who just turned 29, had begun his enlistment process. He will be the second member to enlist after bandmate Jin, who did so in December. – Jan Lee

On The Street clinched the No. 1 spot on the iTunes Top Songs chart in 80 regions within a day of its release. PHOTO: BIGHIT MUSIC

Ace Album: Kali Uchis – Red Moon In Venus

Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis celebrates, mourns and ponders love in all its forms in her third and latest album, Red Moon In Venus.

The line between the R&B and psychedelic genres blurs as she revels in the blissful feeling of being with that special someone, amid lush and warm instrumentation.

Red Moon In Venus is the third album by Colombian American singer Kali Uchis. PHOTO: GEFFEN

Her boyfriend, American rapper Don Toliver, features on Fantasy, their chemistry adding a stamp of authenticity.

But the Grammy-winning singer also reiterates that sometimes, self-love is paramount, especially after relationships go south.

And while a couple of tracks chastise former lovers for their shortcomings, the overall feel is overwhelmingly sanguine without being too corny.

I Wish You Roses, in particular, is that rare modern pop/R&B tune that could well be an anthem for amicable separations sans the bitterness and drama. – Eddino Abdul Hadi

Must-See MV: Adam Lambert – Getting Older

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If anyone has ever wondered what American singer Adam Lambert would look like as a senior citizen, the music video for his song, Getting Older, might satisfy that curiosity.

The track from the 41-year-old’s fifth and latest album High Drama is a cover of a tune by American pop star Billie Eilish.

The former American Idol runner-up and singer for British rock icons Queen went through four hours of make-up to age himself a few decades, achieving a look far removed from his usual glammed-up self.

High Drama sees Lambert going back to his American Idol roots of injecting cover songs with his flashy, three-octave vocal range.

Besides Getting Older, the release also includes renditions of old hits such as Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out For A Hero (1984) and Duran Duran’s Ordinary World (1992). – Eddino Abdul Hadi

American singer Adam Lambert aged himself in the music video for Getting Older, his rendition of a song by Billie Eilish. PHOTO: Adam Lambert / YouTube

Stream This Song: Anni Hung – In The Blink Of An Eye

Anni Hung has at times been labelled the successor to indie darling Cheer Chen, and it is not hard to see why. Both are sweet-looking Taiwanese singer-songwriters with a penchant for subtle, poetic lyrics.

Hung’s new single, In The Blink Of An Eye, looks at the process of growing up with the wistful acceptance and thoughtful contemplation that characterise many of Chen’s earworms.

Taiwanese singer-songwriter Anni Hung has at times been labelled the successor to indie darling Cheer Chen. PHOTO: ANNI HUNG / FACEBOOK

The song posits that maturing is a process that happens momentarily, in the instant one least expects. Before this, one brims with naivety and idealism. When one finally gets the ways of the world – including hard truths such as how not all kind people are happy – only then has one grown up.

While these realities of adulthood can be harsh and disappointing, Hung’s soft vocals cushion the blow, hinting at a person’s inner strength to stand up to life’s adversities.

A perfect reflective number to listen to on a rainy evening. – Benson Ang

Singapore Scene: Kevin Mathews – Time Flies

Cover for Time Flies (left), an album by Singaporean singer-songwriter Kevin Mathews.  PHOTOS: KAMCO MUSIC, EVIN MATHEWS

It has been a while since home-grown veteran musician Kevin Mathews released an album.

The appropriately titled Time Flies comes eight years after his last album, 2015’s Present Sense.

The singer-songwriter, best known for 1993 radio hit My One And Only, has lost none of his penchant for fetching melodies.

The power pop tunes feature earnest and heartfelt musings on coming to terms with the advent of age and the pursuit of serenity.

The recordings also feature a supergroup of sorts – made up of seasoned alternative rock musicians such as Patrick Chng from The Oddfellows, Chris Toh from AWOL and Ray Aziz from Opposition Party and Swirling Madness. – Eddino Abdul Hadi

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