min.a’s latest single is an exercise in reflexive fabrication.
“Tape It Back Together” is a sudden change of course for comprehensive musician min.a. Her recent EP, “Hi-Fi“, carries with it an air of refinement, a deliberate sequence of pop deconstructions evoking themes of freedom, identity, and introspection. Her work is deeply expressionist, treating music and colour with a synaesthetic paintbrush, and even within notes nothing is assured. “Hi-Fi” opens with “Own Up To It”, which makes subtle use of pitch shifting and vocal layering to brighten the song’s metallic gleam. “Tape It Back Together” is min.a’s latest release, one in which the makings of a traditionally formatted song come together in motion. As writer, singer, producer, and engineer, she takes an autuerial role in two and a half minutes of confident demonstration. It’s sweeping and ethereal – yet surprisingly accessible on repeat listens.
Emotionally, “Tape It Back Together” begins on a flat-line. min.a’s voice is disembodied and alone at the song’s beginning as robotic hi-hats form a punctured foundation. Swirling bass tones accompany massive reverberating snares, but for the first section of the song, nothing feels in place. Tensions rise as the first verse concludes, “A voice in my head, runs me over again, again, again” sings min.a as the aforementioned hi-hats grow impatient, compressing into blurs of noise. The artist phases between elegant and phantasmic. As the stakes rise and rise the song comes to an immense crescendo at the final hook, with each choice made reactive to another, a powerful kick pattern seems to disrupt the vocals, casting pieces of min.a’s voice into the mix.
The chorus of “Tape” amplifies the pressure of the spotlight. A recent interview revealed min.a’s history in television, specifically the South Korean show K-Pop Star. It was an experience that exposed her to a world of control and “hyperfeminine expectation”. On “Tape”, “She’s the poster child” is sung as min.a’s voice splits, falling into the next line “use her up for a while”. In light of min.a’s background, this lands as criticism of entertainment industries’ tendency to commodify and toss aside girls and women for a sizeable list of reasons. “Tape it back together, wish I never met her”, through this lens, reads as a reconciliation of two identities – one made a product by industrial conventions, and one made free by refusal to follow them.
Listen to “Tape It Back Together” here.
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– Jamie (@youngjade1216)