Emei is probably getting quite comfortable with having her name spoken every other second of the day after her two previous singles went absolutely viral all over social media with over 12 million combined streams. The Chinese/American alt-pop singer/songwriter has relied on her decade or so of experience in the Chinese music industry to make her career go international, and now she’s getting ready to debut her first EP Cynical to the ears of the world. Emei‘s music career took off during the pandemic. Her single “Late to the Party” became a hit with over 6 million streams, boosted by videos of Emei performing it live, which have collectively been viewed over 10 million times on TikTok and Instagram Reels.
Emei‘s upcoming EP is titled Cynical and we’re taking a look at the titular track -and music video that heralds the coming of this fantastic debut. Cynical is one of those songs that you can’t quite fully discern without the author’s input, but it is written in a way that is very much open to interpretation while not being actually obtuse -a sign of really great songwriting.
The music itself is this imposing, exhilarating electro-pop that Emei is starting to be known for, while the music video is a refreshing proposal that bounced back and forth between footage of a raging club party and Emei herself alone in a surreal, and slightly Lynchean home lit almost entirely blue.
To me, Cynical is about the singer’s struggle with the poison of cynicism. Emei describes how they are constantly “making good” decisions and “doing well in life”, but they always seem to sabotage themselves and create chaos. They feel at peace when things are difficult, and they are always overthinking and overdoing things.
The song can be interpreted in many ways. Some people might see it as a commentary on the human condition, and how we are all prone to self-sabotage. Others might see it as a more personal song, about Emei‘s own struggles with mental health. Ultimately, that’s up to you to decide.
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