Chinese singer and songwriter Lexie Liu has released “The Happy Star,” her first full album in three years. In her new 12-track body of work, Lexie takes her iconic, lyrically grungy sound and pushes it to new levels as she takes a deep dive into the hyperpop genre. Throughout this album, Lexie incorporates multiple languages, from Chinese to English to Spanish, and experiments with different emotions and tempos to create something that is simultaneously elevated as much as it is eerie. “The Happy Star” is available now on all digital streaming platforms.
Listen in here: https://open.spotify.com/album/6TncHvvXh96HDGtWGrsNIV
Inspired by the twenty-two Major Arcana from Tarot, each track represents one card from the deck, exploring themes of fate, creation, and the universe’s inherent, cyclical dispositions. While conceiving this album, Lexie plunged into her own spiritual journey to develop something uniquely her own in its sounds and meanings. Through a mystical lens, she seeks the innate beauty and potential of human nature; tapping into musings on our ambition, love, temptation, acceptance, and everything in between.
With its modern techno sound and sitar melodies, ‘FORTUNA’ is a perfect first track. Leading with an 90’s vibe, headlining the production without overworking the music too early on in the track list, this song is about finding our fortunes and feeds into the listener’s curiosity; baiting them into figuring out what the rest of this album has to offer. Closely following the build up in ‘FORTUNA’ is ‘dance dance’, a moody confession about finally being able to dance, free from any external inhibitions and influences. The trance-like haze put forth in ‘dance dance’ cuts short as we’re transported into the electro punk beat ‘3.14159’. Lexie calls out people and their unsolicited opinions, stating that they’ve “got glitter but they ain’t real diamonds.” Her catty lyrics are matched with an energetic, confident tone to round out this air of rebellious freedom that will have you throwing your fists in the air.
‘GANMA’ brings out the haughty, unbothered side out. With an almost chant-like delivery, Lexie’s bass driven rap in the beginning shifts to a lilting realization that since she can’t fall asleep anyways, there’s no point in sticking to routine. One of the more complex compositions in the album, ‘MAGICIAN’ is all about creation and the power to change that which is predestined. ‘DIABLO’ shows us this more sinister side of Lexie’s artistic expression. There’s an art to free-falling, one that Lexie is a master of.
Track 7 marks a turning point having finished her dance with the devil and reveling in chaotic freedom, ‘MIRA’ serves as Lexie’s rediscovery of self. It gathers elements from diverse cultures lyrically, from ‘Tao Te Ching’, ‘The Heart Sutra’ to The Bible. The intense bass line reflects the internal conflict of aggression and passivity, but the classical Chinese instrumentals and her lyrical, whispering vocals towards the end serve as a placid, personal acknowledgement to the answers she’s discovered. Lexie seems to have found peace in ‘Gaia’, by far the most serene track in this album. As the only track on this album that doesn’t stray from a constant, this track is mellow pacing and serves as a nice reprieve from the constant ebb and flow of Lexie’s music. ‘BAD DREAM’ is pure, raw vulnerability. It strips away the high production soundscape packed into the beginning of this album and instead opts for a simpler, soft R&B ballad.
Continuing in this R&B direction, Lexie picks the energy back up with the groovy, afrobeat inspired track ‘RRR’. She’s still pursuing that fortuitous future, but this time Lexie doesn’t mind having someone come along with her. As we near the end of the album, Lexie surprises us with a delicate story of innocent love. In ‘i wanna tell u’, her soft vocals and dream-like melodies wrap around us like a comforting blanket. “The Happy Star” goes full circle in its final track ‘Shanti’, bringing back the techo-infused, retro sounds from the first half of this album and combining it with the softer, uplifting tone of the latter. ‘Shanti’ provides the much needed, final breath of closure in this 12-track journey of an album.
ABOUT LEXIE LIU
Lexie Liu is a Chinese singer and songwriter creating a new template for pop music stardom, with her tantalizing lyrics, awareness of youth and gen-z culture, and “her provocative sound [that] transcends language barriers,” (i-D Magazine). Thus far, she’s released multiple singles, 2 EPs, and has even been featured as Seraphine in the League of Legends pop sensation “K/DA”, joining the likes of Madison Beer, (G)-IDLE, Kim Petras, Twice, Jaira Burns, and more in this pantheon of artists-turned- champions. According to V Magazine, “Lexie Liu is poised to become the face of a generation of new Chinese artists breaking into the American mainstream with a uniquely cross-cultural sound.”