If You Want It
On 2017’s Everybody Works, Melina Duterte introduced Jay Som to the world. The first proper release under her new stage name (which she adopted from a Wu-Tang name generator) delivered Duterte’s bedroom pop with punchy immediacy. Since that time, she’s relocated from California’s Bay Area to Los Angeles to explore new territories as a musician and producer. During a solo retreat to Joshua Tree, Duterte fleshed out the beginnings of her next Jay Som project, Anak Ko—a sonic travelogue of self-acceptance and growth.
Anak Ko’s opener “If You Want It” lays the foundation for an album where minimalism takes center stage, with a simple guitar line guiding Duterte’s storytelling. “Superbike” and “Peace Out” are cutting diatribes about a relationship stretched to its limits, but on “Devotion,” Duterte realizes that the most important relationship to maintain is the one she has with herself. “Nighttime Drive” unpacks the hardships of moving away from home with quiet drum taps and a light guitar riff. The album’s title track “Anak Ko” (which translates to “my child” in Tagalog, a nickname that Duterte’s Filipino mother gave her) supplies ominous synths that flirt with Duterte’s glitchy vocals, building up to an explosive coda.