May is National Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, during which we honor the history and culture of AAPI communities around the world. To uplift AAPI voices, The Daily asked our writers for their favorite songs from AAPI musicians.
“Window” by spill tab (Recommended by Richard Coca ’22 M.S. ’23)
Spill tab, also known as Claire Chicha, continues making waves with her latest single “Window.” I quickly became enchanted with this song when the sound evolved from lo-fi to alternative pop as it hit the chorus. The guitar riff parallels her declaration of her situationship: “I think I’m done. I think I’m done / Having to hold on your hand and keep you over.” The sonic versatility coupled with the imagery of her waiting for her lover to show up at the window really showcase spill tab’s strength, which will surely propel her music going forward.
“For Granted” by Yaeji (Recommended by Blyss Cleveland)
Over the past seven years, Korean-American producer, DJ and musician Yaeji has released two EPs and a dozen singles. From serving as a featured artist alongside Clairo on Charli XCX’s “February 2017” to covering Drake’s “Passionfruit,” the genre-spanning artist seems to have no limits to her creativity. Perhaps it’s fitting that “For Granted,” the lead single from “With a Hammer” (her first full-length studio album), is a meditation on how life got to be so good. The trip-hop track features her characteristic delicate whisper-tone vocals over thumping beats — the perfect summer song for weekends with friends.
“Make It Better” by Anderson .Paak (Recommended by Nick Sligh ’23)
It’s simple: this is just a beautiful love song from start to finish. The production is phenomenal and captivating. The vocals are flawless and filled with emotion. The lyrics are potent. Overall, the song is just a masterpiece that is guaranteed to evoke a special feeling from the listener.
“Oceans and Engines” by NIKI (Recommended by Kelly Wang ’26)
Introduced to my life a few years too late, NIKI’s “Oceans and Engines” offers a calming musical setting to reach inwards and feel emotions in their rawest forms. Her unique voice, brilliant lyrics and emotive melody connect any and all hearts that have struggled with moving on from the tracks of memories left by someone who’s no longer there. “Oceans and Engines” makes listeners wonder whether it’s truly the person that’s being missed — or if it’s actually little more than a ghost that has been around for longer than necessary. If you’ve felt misunderstood in the conflicting emotions that hover over your mind and heart, or want to disappear from reality for a few minutes (or hours, with the song on repeat), this piece could be just what you need.
“XOXO” by Somi (Recommended by Hana Dao ’24)
K-pop artist Somi is currently on a music hiatus, but I was reminded of this feel-good summery song during a binge of Jenny Han’s recently released Netflix show “XO, Kitty.” This is a song that definitely gives you the main character vibes. If you haven’t created your hot-girl-summer playlist yet, you can start by adding this song!
“Rain Song” by Emile Mosseri and Han Ye-ri (Recommended by Anthony Martinez Rosales ’26)
“Rain Song” by Emile Mosseri and Han Ye-ri is a soothing and beautiful song with “a hopeful message of rain creating a new day.” This song was crafted specifically for the film “Minari” (2021), which was nominated for Best Original Score in 2021 by the Academy Awards. The song’s English translation shows it to be a simple lullaby about rain washing away winter, but it is Han Ye-ri’s voice that transforms the song’s simple lyrics into a moment of intricate expression. Han Ye-ri is a South Korean actress who plays the mom in the film, and her vocalization helps this song sound calming and transformative.
Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective thoughts, opinions and critiques.