Our Favorite Music Videos That Pop

These AA+PI artists may have different musical styles, but they understood the assignment to create popular music

Words by Samantha Pak

In an effort to bring you more joy, we wanted to share a few of our favorite music videosboth the coolest new releases and older clips from AAPI artists we think just don’t get enough mainstream play. This week’s theme: The poppiest pop songs. Have a video you think we should know about? Hit us up at pitches@joysauce.com.

‘Talk Nice’ by No Rome (2019): Graceful masculinity

No Rome grew up on the tough streets of Manila. As an emo kid who preferred skinny jeans and tight t-shirts, he learned self defense to protect himself. When he was 12, his father introduced him to the basics of music production and his obsession with music began. No Rome (born Guendoline Rome Viray Gomez), who is now based in London, got into hip-hop, and his early musical interests also included Slipknot, New Order and David Bowie. Some of No Rome’s collaborators include his labelmates The 1975 as well as Charli XCX.

In his single “Talk Nice,” No Rome sings about how money isn’t everything but “Life has a price to pay.” This contrast is mirrored in the video, which features No Rome and two male dancers in an empty concrete basketball court. The dancers, who are both powerful and graceful, will have you questioning the meaning of masculinity. In addition, the combination of No Rome’s soft spoken voice and the song’s sweeping music gives me teen drama vibes.

‘Lucky Girl’ by Fazerdaze (2017): Dancey indie pop for the world to discover

The New Zealand-born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Fazerdaze is the daughter of a Muslim Indonesian mother and Christian European father. Fazerdaze recorded her debut self-titled EP and most of her debut LP, Morningside, in her bedroom studio. Toeing the line between dreamy indie pop and grungy shoegaze, Fazerdaze’s songs hit on topics like teenage friendships, the joys of travel, and being bad at replying to texts.

“Lucky Girl,” from her 2017 debut studio album Morningside, is a danceable song filled with Fazerdaze’s reverby vocals sung over catchy rhythms. The sound reminds me of my college days working at the Gap. And I mean that in a good way—the playlists often included songs you wouldn’t normally hear on the radio. They made you feel cool for being “in the know” about indie pop artists that the rest of the world would discover in a few years.

‘When You Were Young’ by Yea-Ming and the Rumours (2015): Nostalgic introversion

The classic album Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours had a big impact on Yea-Ming Chen, to the point that she named her band after it. Music for the frontwoman began with piano lessons when she was 7 and lasted through high school. Chen got into the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in music but left the program because it was too academic. Singing came later when Chen got into punk and indie music, which helped her to realize the beauty of imperfect and unconventional voices.

With a title like “When You Were Young,” off the 2016 album I Will Make You Mine, it’s no surprise that the song gives off major nostalgia vibes. It’s a sunny folk-pop song and I envision hippies in the 1960s listening to it while zoning out on the grass. And then there’s the video. The main scene, of Chen out with her friends and growing more miserable as more people join their group, spoke to my introverted heart. This juxtaposed with her lyrics, “All I wanted was to cry alone,” made it all the more relatable and hilarious.

‘Stop Talking’ by Miya Folick (2018): When we can’t tell our friends to just ‘shut up!’

Born in California and raised as a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist, Miya Folick learned to play taiko drums in a church group. The half-Japanese, half-Ukrainian singer/songwriter later learned how to play guitar during a gap semester in college and started a band using Tinder. According to the BBC, she stated on her profile that she was “looking for a band”—an interesting use of the dating app, to say the least. Folick released her first EP, Strange Darling, in 2015 and her music has been categorized as folk rock, indie rock and indie pop.

If you’ve ever had to listen to a friend drone on about their significant other—or an ex—knowing this person is not worth their time, “Stop Talking” is the song for you. Many of us love our friends too much to just tell them “Shut up!” when we’re tired of hearing about their drama. So why not have Folick do it for you? I admit, I’ve been on both sides of these conversations and this song—which is from Folick’s 2018 debut album, Premonitions—would have been so handy in those situations. My favorite thing about the video is how Folick has perfected her deadpan, bored expression because that’s what we’re all feeling when our friend brings up that one person again.

Published on December 5, 2022

Words by Samantha Pak

Samantha Pak (she/her) is an award-winning Cambodian American journalist from the Seattle area and assistant editor for JoySauce. She spends more time than she’ll admit shopping for books than actually reading them, and has made it her mission to show others how amazing Southeast Asian people are. Follow her on Twitter at @iam_sammi and on Instagram at @sammi.pak.