Released on the 25th of June, the second EP by Sarah Kang entitled maybe I’m Better Now is a tender musical experience, carried by her honeyed vocals and delicate honesty.
It is not easy to speak on seasonal depression or to even properly address it in a song. However, with “maybe,” Sarah Kang manages to capture beautifully the heavy cloud of haziness thanks to the floaty production. She breathes life and comfort during the entirety of the song, despite the desperate tone of the lyrics.
“i’m lost ft. Nieman” is framed as a voicemail that the singer is leaving to a former flame. The track will successfully make you wish to go back to something you didn’t know you missed, for better or for worse. Through the retelling of two dates set in Tokyo and New York, “i’m lost” is a beautiful nostalgia-infused r&b piece in which Sarah Kang’s vocals transcends the production, accompanied by Nieman.
“better than new ft. Trumaine Lamar” is not your typical love song. This time, Sarah Kang decides to celebrate the comfort that brings a relationship past its honeymoon phase, the domesticity that some people decide to escape from in order to find someone new. But not her.
Being the second R&B track of the EP, “better than new” also shines as the only one to have Korean lyrics sprinkled here and there, as the other songs are all strictly written in English:
“잠에서 깨어보니 (When I woke from my sleep)
넌 나를 안아주고 있었지 (You were holding me)”
(Honorary mention for the stellar background vocals of Trumaine Lamar!)
maybe i’m better now closes with what I consider to be the highlight of the short album, an introspective journey inside the singer’s brain as she shares a continuous stream of consciousness with us. In “now i know”, Sarah Kang waltzes smoothly between jazz and Disney OST vibes (I know it sounds odd, but trust me on this one) while reflecting on what she has learned about three subjects in particular:
Firstly love, and how different it is from what she was promised growing up. Love isn’t soulmates, longing looks shared between two strangers in the night or century-old romantic poems.
Secondly, time and how “she” steals everything like a thief, never bending for anyone.
And finally, the ephemeral nature of life, perhaps the hardest lesson of them all. The singer isn’t pessimistic, nevertheless, and instead celebrates her newfound knowledge and growth.
Sarah Kang excels at conveying emotions, and this EP succeeds in every aspect. Maybe i’m better now is a tender look inside her heart and mind, a surprising opportunity to learn more about ourselves as well. The influence of artists such as Bruno Major is impossible to ignore, especially in “now i know” which carries the same vulnerability as his album To Let a Good Thing Die.
Ultimately, what makes maybe i’m better now great is the production and the stunning vocals, thus creating a beautiful musical escape (albeit too short in my opinion). With the abundance of nostalgia and starry-eyed imagery, Sarah Kang delivers an incredibly touching piece that will undoubtedly soothe your soul.