Jay Som: Anak Ko

She’s back! Los Angeles multi-instrumentalist and DIY artist Jay Som released a 3rd album titled Anak Ko on August 23rd. In Tagalog, Anak Ko means “my child,” an endearing phrase her mother said to her through the years. Duterte’s self-reflection of her Filipino heritage is what inspired the album. Musically, she stays true to the lo-fi sound her previous albums Turn Into and Everybody Works showcase. Duterte’s soft vocals and guitar motifs have a certain kind of sweet intensity–mellow, but with a driving purpose.

The bedroom pop album comes out strong with repetitive attention-grabbing guitar riffs in “If You Want It” and “Peace Out.” Some of the jarring and dissonant artistic choices initially take you by surprise, but only gives the track a refreshing spritz of tartness to balance out the lulling existing layers. Her lethargic sounding lead vocal combined with the somber content provides the listener with the idea of a moodier themed project until you hear “Tenderness” and the mesmerizing single “Superbike.” They paint flashbacks to a ’90s themed dreamscape of pastels and nylon jumpsuits while also incorporating the smoothness of ’70s funk. She keeps up the vibrancy of the sun with the uplifting tracks like “Devotion” and “Crown,” songs about taking the time to change for the better and her determination to stay in a positive state of mind. I’m sure we can all relate to that message!

The title track, “Anak Ko” takes an immediate left turn with a mood shift into a darker grunge vibe. A slow build into the refrain contains the perfect amount of suspense. The familiar beat drops back in with a new vocal FX that we haven’t heard throughout the album. “Nighttime Drive” and “Get Well” are laid back compared to the rest of the album. Lyrics speak of taking each day as it comes while paying homage to her past. Songs meant for anyone who’s experienced similar life troubles. It’s interesting to hear how she signs the album off peacefully with a rootsy feel of a pedal steel guitar and organ.

What an end cap to summer! Anak Ko has a downtempo vibe that is perfect for driving cross country with the top down. There is a metamorphosis of sorts that happens throughout the album. Between her emotionally-driven heady lyrics and the choices of scattered instrumentation, she takes you along on her journey of self-discovery. Thanks for the pleasant drive, Jay Som.

Rating: 7.0/10

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