Lexie Liu - 'Hat Trick'


China’s breakout star Lexie Liu has released a bilingual banger in the shape of new single ‘Hat Trick’. As crossover artists like Rosalia and BTS are proving, language need no longer be a barrier to broader mainstream success in the English speaking pop scene (although arguably Romania’s O-Zone already kicked down that particular pop door in 2004). Lexie Liu is building on this by crafting gorgeous fusion pop that brings together disparate genre elements and flickers between languages with an ease that proves her to be the coolest teenager on the scene since Billie Eilish.

The production delicately combines samples of traditional Chinese instruments with sparse piano and beats resulting in an enticing track foundation that bubbles away but never comes off the boil. The English chorus hook “I just want to be want to be loved” eases its way under your skin, whilst the waltzing beat rocks you into a pensive state.

The accompanying video shows Liu swaying in black and white, which doesn’t feel especially revolutionary, but the real master stroke is having the lyrics subtitled in Chinese and English throughout. It’s simple, perhaps even obvious, but it allows you to be drawn in by her performance and hardly notice the language shifts.

There’s one point when the lyrics veer into the borderline nonsensical - “Then wear the gold hat, like it would move me” (presumably she means crown and it’s an awkward translation?), not that it matters given that her delivery is so compelling. At turns breathy and bold, sexy and sweet, her vocals aren’t showy but they create a thoughtful, intimate atmosphere.

Nylon have already dubbed her One To Watch and if she continues to release songs of this calibre I doubt we’ll be the only ones hopping on this particular bandwagon.

Words by Hattie Long