Vincent Knox Editor-in-Chief
Jay Som is the recording name of Melina Duterte, a bedroom pop artist based in California. Her latest album, “Anak Ko,” which means “my child” in Tagalog, continues her trend of emotionally charged lyrics over melodies and rhythms that have a way of sticking with you. The album is nine songs long and has a runtime of about 35 minutes.
The first track, “If You Want It,” describes what seems to be the breaking down of a relationship between two people. The way she sings the words makes it seem like she has somewhat come to terms with the events that are transpiring and is leaving the decision to keep her around to him. The first verse goes, “I can’t remember / The words were forming in your mouth / You’ve found another / To bring you joy and play a part.” This could signify that she knows that her significant other may be discontent in their relationship and has found another person who is making them happy. The reason she says she can’t remember even though she clearly does is because she was probably shocked to discover the unhappiness of her significant other and does not want to think back on that moment. The chorus is, “I’m turning inside out / With the thought of a new day / I’ll only come around / I you want it that way.” This shows more of her feelings towards the thought of losing her relationship and makes it sound as if she still wants to work out the problems with her significant other, but only if they want her around to do so. The musicality of this track is excellent, the rhythms of her melodies and beats are very well thought out and work in tandem with each other, as they should.
The next track is “Superbike,” which has a noticeably different feel from the first. It is more upbeat, but the lyrical content is in the same vein as the previous track. She talks of how she can tell that her significant other does not think of her the same way they used to and are waiting patiently for the next person to come along. The line, “I pick up the superbike / Going 80 in the night” alludes to the act of trying to get the situation out of her head by doing something potentially reckless or dangerous. She then calls out her significant other, saying, “Said you wanted something else / Something new for show and tell” showing the kind of person she was with and how she sees them as only caring about looks and having something to show off. She follows that with, “Gonna breathe until you’re gone / Gonna breathe until you’re,” which indicates that she needs to calm herself down in order to clear her mind of all of the things going on in her life. This could be the reason that she is literally speeding away from the source of her negative emotions and why she is trying to mentally, also.
Skipping ahead to the sixth track, “Tenderness” takes the listener into what feels like an ‘80’s era vibe due to the subdued drum beat and slightly vibrato guitar. When Duterte comes in, she comes in slow and steady like growing storm, and when the chorus kicks in, it’s like the sky opens and a shower of beautiful, subtle, jazzy sound comes pouring out. In this one, she speaks about the uncertainty of finding someone on social media and how it can affect the way one person can view another. She starts, “Tell me / Did you fall in at first glance? / Do you think you’ll take a chance? / Do you think on the weekend I could know?” She then asks for them, “Show me / Before you haunt me on the screen / Will my affection pull the strings? / Another forgotten memory.” These two verses indicate that she is feeling something for this person on the other side of the screen but does not know if what she has put out is enough to keep them interested or wanting more. She goes on the say that they both have put versions of themselves out there but that she doesn’t want to pretend to be anything she’s not, claiming that tenderness is all that she has.
“Anak Ko” is a satisfying listen, hitting themes of love, loss, and patience in life and in relationships. I hope you will give it a listen and enjoy.