If you’re jonesing for some keyboard rock from a fresh face, look no further than Dawen‘s debut LP, American Me.
The 16 song concept album tracks the humorous, painful, and outright profound experiences the young singer has faced while negotiaing what it truly means to be an Asian in the United States today. Though the focus of the Taiwanese-American’s record is clear, Me doesn’t come across as overly preachy. This new talent makes real issues palatable, using an eclectically soulful style reminiscent of artists as quirky as Nellie Mckay and as sensual as Seal.
Hit single “Wake Up” bouncily rattles off every absurd Asian stereotype imaginable (“Just because I saw the movie Crouching Tiger doesn’t mean that I know Kung Fu”), “The Predicament” is a timeless, tried and true slow jam, and “Never Again” is a personal take on the world’s genocides.
While each cut speaks to something important, however, Dawen’s CD isn’t one that demands your full attention 100% of the time. Not to say you shouldn’t think about the lyrics (please do!), but honestly American Me makes for some perfect study session music.
More than anything else, I’d recommend the album for its theatrical nature. The theme wanes a bit in the second half, but Ooverall, this first release will make you laugh, think, and sing along.