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Asian pop superstar JJ Lin is back with his dreamy album Drifter • Like You Do

At long last, Mandarin-pop superstar JJ Lin has released his 14th album Drifter • Like You Do, and let me tell you one thing — I loved it. 

The first half of this dreamy EP,  Drifter,  features 6 Mandarin tracks with its leading title track, while the second half of the album Like You Do, features a new English track ‘While I Can’.

JJ Lin: Profile Image
JJ Lin was heavily involved in the conceptualisation of his album

The overall feel of this album is gentle and hopeful. In this album, JJ Lin had hoped to explore the blurred lines between dreams vs realities versus the possibility of a parallel universe.

Says JJ on the album concept, “Drifter • Like You Do is a two-dimensional double EP. In life, there is always light and darkness, to consciously hold on or to let go. Returning to a rediscovery of life, the album tells a story about all of us. I could be your voice, just as you could be mine.

“That which exists, is already existent and the second dimension that may have yet to reveal itself, already exists. We just haven’t gotten there yet.”

I found the concept of this album creative and interesting, and I think the balance between the two concepts was executed well. A great example of this is the juxtaposition of the gentle lyrics with the dark song arrangement in While I Can.

JJ Lin: Drifter Like You Do Cover Art
Cover Art for “Like You Do”, the second half of JJ Lin’s album

As some may know, “While I Can” was adapted from JJ Lin’s original Mandarin song “Wonderland” — but with a twist. In his all-new English hit, JJ Lin partners with American producers to come up with a powerfully haunting adaptation that shows off his vocal prowess.

My personal favourite from this album is its title track Drifter. 

Whether it’s because of the profound message behind the lyrics that resonated with me, or the way the melody seems almost like a desperate lament, I’ve been playing this song on repeat ever since its release. 

JJ Lin: Drifter Global Listening Party
JJ Lin speaking about the album during the Global Listening Party Livestream

For me, this song is about the reflections of someone who has reached the top, and the trade-offs they had to make to get there. These are some of my favourite lyrics in the song:

燈蛾不由得分隔
Lamp moths can’t help but separate

我是否已賺取了資格 可以站在這
Have I earned the right to stand here?

Here, the ‘lamp moths’ mentioned in this song, to me, is the people attracted to their dreams. Being someone who has achieved them already, or at the very least reached a height of success they are satisfied with… They now wonder if they deserve their spot.

I think the lyrics in this song is lovely — and it is made even more so by the ending line:

只是為了得到愛的人 認可
Just to get the approval of the loved one.

真的
Really.

JJ Lin: Jam Hsiao and Mickey Huang
JJ Lin with Jam Hsiao (left) and Mickey Huang (right) as they listen to “While I Can”

It is a culmination of reflections about the challenging journey of rising up amongst others, with a totality of self-doubt after reaching their destination. Nonetheless, one finally realises that the strongest resolve that got them through all this hardship, was the desire to get the approval of someone they love.

This line especially really touched me when I first heard it, and that’s how this song has come to become a favourite of mine. 

By now, JJ Lin has already become a household name not just in Singapore, but also around Asia, so I’m sure I don’t need to say more to convince you to listen to his new EP now because rest assured — you won’t be disappointed. 

To celebrate the album release, JJ Lin also hosted a global listening party to preview his latest music. The livestream is now available on YouTube, if you missed it!

JJ Lin: Drifter Global Listening Party 2
Host Mickey Huang and a slew of celebrity guests like Jackson Wang, Harry Chang, attended the livestream that happened on October 19

The music video for “Drifter” is currently out now on JJ Lin’s official YouTube account. The music video for “While I Can” and more info on the second half of the EP titled Like You Do will be released in the coming months, so do look out for updates!

Visuals courtesy of Warner Music Singapore.

Wan Xin Ng

A film student who loves cats, books and games!

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