Album review: 88rising’s ‘Head In The Clouds II’

As the seasons changee and the weather gets cooler, we begin to miss the hot summer days filled with no worries whatsoever. What if I told you we were able to feel that again, but with music?

In its sophomore album, mass media company 88rising releases “Head In The Clouds II,” a compilation album that will instantly remind you of the fun times you had during the summer.

88rising has many well-known Asian artists on its label, including Keith Ape, Rich Brian and Joji.

Former vice reporter Sean Miyashiro created 88rising to help the growth of Asian artists in America.

“There is no definitive media brand that represents and celebrates Asian culture, especially for millennials and young people,” said Miyashiro to Forbes. “That’s what we’re doing. We want to not just cover culture, but we want to create it. We want to create big moments.”

While the album contains the label’s own artists, it also features many guest appearances, such as Swae Lee, GoldLink and more.

The album starts off with melancholic-like songs “These Nights” and “Strange Land.” While both songs relate to love, they contrast each other.

“These Nights” is an 80s-like track about the thrill of falling in love, while “Strange Land” tells the story of two characters once in love, drifting apart, featuring a lovely acoustic-like instrumental. These songs are reminders for those who have found or lost love during their summer and are some of the best on the album.

As the album progresses, the songs become more addictive to listen to, sounding like tracks you’d play at a summer pool party.

“Indigo” is a strong R&B track with the catchiest backtrack that won’t get out of your head, and “Hopscotch” is one of the most authentic rap songs on the album as the verses layer over a grime-esque production sound.

Rapper Rich Brian perfectly ends the album with “Gold Coast,” a nostalgic ode reminiscent of the euphoric feelings summer gave him, something a lot of us can relate to.

88rising artist Niki expressed pride in the work of his labelmates on this album

“We put our hearts, minds and backs into this body of work,” said Niki in a letter to the fans of 88rising. “May it inspire you to keep fostering your own art in return.”

The question is: Does this album exceed the group’s first “Head In The Clouds” album? Not quite, but that’s a hard challenge for a lot of artists to overcome.

“Head In The Clouds II” is a carefree album that has a tracklist containing one banger after another. The songs can range from a prominent Chinese rap about the luxurious lifestyle of being famous, to an acoustic love song making references to the Marvel film, “Avengers: Endgame.”

There is something unique about each song on the album, keeping it exciting and deserving of your listening ears.

Despite being released in the fall, this is truly a summer album, as it makes you think of the fun moments you had during that time. Hopefully, you will put some of these songs on your summer playlist soon.

acqn3@mail.umkc.edu

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