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Jackson Wang chooses to be himself on new album MAGIC MAN

The 10-track project has a Rock edge to it

LiFTED | Marcus Aurelius | 13 Sep 2022

The last decade has been a whirlwind for Jackson Wang. In 2012, he had a scholarship offer at Stanford University and was preparing for the London Olympics for fencing. Instead of going to the California university, he decided to start training to be a Kpop star. And the rest is history.

He’s gone on to be in a successful Kpop group, Got7, as well as come out of the other end of the Kpop machine alive. Wang is now in control of his own destiny with his Team Wang music and fashion company. Even with all his awards and recognition, Wang has felt he’s been pushed to make catchy, commercial music. With his second album, MAGIC MAN, Wang has said that he’s had the creative control to make the music he wants, hasn’t been rushed with it, and feels like this is his first album.

With artists like Childish Gambino straddling the line between Hip Hop, R&B, and art, Jackson Wang is also doing his own thing. The previously released ‘Blow’ has Maroon 5’s Pop sensibilities along with an interpolation of The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army.’ ‘Cruel’ and ‘Champagne Cool’ feel a bit like David Bowie taking his listeners to the mid-1970s Ziggy Stardust era with a Rock edge. The latter especially uses Bowie’s ‘Fame’ at the start.

‘Go Ghost’ and ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ have The Weeknd’s fingerprints all over them. From his lyrics, Jackson would have you believe he’s smoking a few packs of cigarettes a day as well as singing from the bottom of a whiskey bottle. As the album progresses, Jackson gets darker with tracks like ‘All the Way’ and ‘Dopamine.’ The final track, ‘Blue,’ comes with a video of Jackson deep in the ocean. He sings, “When the sky is on fire/That’s when I can run wild” with an early Prince-like passion.

While Jackson Wang doesn’t fit into the typical Asian Hip Hop or Kpop box anymore, MAGIC MAN shows he’s maturing in ways that he never knew he could. Instead of making 13-year-old girls scream at his shows, Jackson is focused on making music that means something to him and his fans nowadays.

Check out the video for Jackson Wang’s ‘Blue’ and listen to MAGIC MAN below.