Yaeji and Oh Hyuk (the bandleader for South Korean four-piece Hyukoh) first connected after meeting in Seoul, where they started collaborating to break out of a mutual spell of “musician’s block.” The resulting single, “29,” represents a bold pathway out of the stagnation, with both musicians moving out of their respective comfort zones. Combining spacious house with elements of indie rock, the shapeshifting song uses heavy drums and a chugging guitar riff to underline Yaeji’s usual icy, agitated monologue: “I been a bit/Held up with shit/Draining my energy left and right.” Then, like an epiphany, the song breaks into an unexpected bossa nova groove with a loping beat and sunny acoustic guitars that wouldn’t have been out of place on ’90s-era TRL. Yaeji’s voice, assuming a more buoyant, rhythmic pattern than usual, insists on finally making time for herself: “I gotta go, I gotta go, I gotta go.” Here, these musicians show us that the only way to counter mental block is to switch up your approach.

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