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Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings - The Album Review

Written by Judy Ngo

Graphic by Lisa Pham

After a tremendous amount of hype, I finally saw Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings in theaters. Seeing a superhero film that revolved around Asian American and Asian characters was absolutely incredible. The film gained massive attention, and it definitely deserved it. Together with the movie came an inspired album. The album features various artists from 88Rising, a music company that primarily highlights Asian and Asian American artists. It consists of 18 tracks and lasts about an hour. Here are my thoughts on every track:

“Always Rising” - NIKI, Rich Brian, Warren Hue

The album starts off with a bold track. The talented Indonesian artist, NIKI begins with echoing chords which are underlined by gentle strums of a guitar. There’s a transformation almost halfway through the track from grand opera to a hip-hop beat with a strong bass that demands people to thump their heads. “Always Rising” is a solid track to open the album.

“Diamonds + And Pearls” - DPR LIVE, DPR IAN, peace

I have to say that I do have a slight crush on the two DPR members on this track. Having listened to their music before this track, I already had high expectations and they did not disappoint. The beginning of the track was reminiscent of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody or Queen in general. However, the track is uniquely DPR’s sound. It screams “I know I’m bad” and is definitely a song that someone can strut down the street listening to.

“In the Dark” - Swae Lee, Jhené Aiko

This track is 10/10 a catchy summer bop. Swae Lee and Jhené Aiko demand to be appreciated in this track, and I am here for it. “In the Dark” is one of my favorites from the album. The track was on repeat for a day or two after hearing it in a scene. You can’t go wrong with some Jhené.

“Lazy Susan” - 21 Savage, Rich Brian, Warren Hue, Masiwei

The raps in this track are decent. The flow is consistent, and I do find myself bopping my head to this track. I think it’s interesting—maybe even a little goofy—that 21 Savage is on the track. His verse was alright; I liked everyone else’s verses better though.

“Nomad” - Zion.T, Gen Hoshino

“Nomad” is one of the chiller songs on the album. It has a driving beat for a song with pretty lonely lyrics. I think it’s perfect for the sultry vocals of Zion.T and Gen Hoshino. It’s definitely in the top 5 songs of the album simply because of how wonderful the vocals are.

“Fire In The Sky” - Anderson. Paak

I can remember being in the most elated mood as this song played during the ending credits. It has such an addictive groove. It’s a perfect song for cruising around. The last seconds of the song give me so much joy every time. The faint “Oo mate, that’s fire” is adorable!

“Lose Control” - JJ Lin

“Lose Control” has such a catchy bass and that combined with the orchestral strings makes the track extremely enjoyable. To me, the song has a disco-esque vibe that instantly compels me to bust out a signature disco move when the chorus hits. The song gradually comes to a softer ending which matches the gravity of the lyrics.

“Every Summertime” - NIKI

This tune’s funky beginning and smooth groove instantly captured my attention. I’m in love with the wonderful chorus. I can imagine my whole body enveloped in sunshine when I hear NIKI sing on this track. “Every Summertime” found its place in my top 5 tracks in the album.

“Never Gonna Come Down” - Mark Tuan, BIBI

My favorite GOT7 member on a track? It took all my willpower not to immediately squeal when I saw his name. Mark Tuan teams up with BIBI to create a full-blown pop song about a human living in their head rent-free. Even though I do love Mark Tuan, “Never Gonna Come Down” does not make the cut for me. It’s not a bad song, but it isn’t my cup of tea. I think it might be because of the voice effects on Mark for portions of the track.

“Foolish” - Rich Brian, Warren Hue, Guapdad 4000

“Foolish” has an easy-going flow. I’m not sure if it’s my imagination, but I think there’s some Fergie inspiration in the chorus. It reminds me of Fergie’s “Fergalicious”. Aside from that, the song is predominately rap with everyone on the track taking turns dishing out what they got.

“Clocked Out!” - AUDREY NUNA, NIKI

If you haven’t listened to AUDREY NUNA, I urge you to go check out more of her music. I discovered her earlier in the year and she’s incredible. Her music and lyrical flow are great. I think that’s displayed in this song. It’s an all-around solid track and holds on its own.

“Act Up” - Rich Brian, EARTHGANG

I’m a fan of EARTHGANG so naturally, a track with both Rich Brain and EARTHGANG is pure fire to my ears. They absolutely killed the beat. It might not be one of the best tracks on the album, but it fits with the “badass hero” vibe.

“Baba Says” - Adawa, Shayiting EL

This is the one song in the album that I had no clue who the artists were. I haven’t heard of Adawa or Shayiting EL but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the song! I thoroughly enjoyed it enough for it to be in my top 5. I’m certainly going to keep an eye out for these artists more.

“Run It” - DJ Snake, Rick Ross, Rich Brian

“Run It” instantly got my head bobbing. The track is highly electronic and filled with energy. It definitely isn’t a song that I’d have the urge to listen to, but like “Act Up”, it fits the movie.

“Swan Song” - Saweetie, NIKI

This song is unapologetically powerful. It’s one of the shortest songs on the tracklist but still packs a slight punch. However, I still feel like there’s something missing for me. It adds variety to the album, but it doesn’t satisfy my ears as much as all the other songs.

“War With Heaven” - Keshi

“War With Heaven” is a top 5 track for sure. It’s Keshi. Keshi does not miss when it comes to singing songs that are simply irresistible to the ear. I can’t resist the lovestruck lyrics. Overall, it’s simply a great song to keep on repeat.

“Hot Soup” - 88Rising, Simu Liu

It was a pleasant surprise to see a track with Simu Liu, the actor portraying Shang Chi in the film. I had no idea that he dabbled in singing. I think he did a great job on a simple yet emotionally moving track. My favorite part of this track is the lyrics. The message and story of this song are beautiful. I think about all the times my mother would cook me a warm meal and now that I have moved away, I try to replicate the meal with her in mind.

“Warriors” - Warren Hue, Seori

“Warriors” is a grandiose ending to the album. The song goes through a little transformation. The first and last part of the song is a strong and powerful rap with a chanting chorus. The chorus is reminiscent of a call to march. While there’s a part near the latter part of the song that’s more about the vocals. I feel like this song is a little overlooked in the album. It is there and it is good!

After listening to the whole album, I would say it suits the film well. At the end of the day, it’s an amazing album highlighting amazing Asian and Asian American artists. If I were to rate it out of 10, it would be an 8/10. Some songs were more enjoyable than others, but the experience as a whole was great. I recommend giving the album a listen and if you don’t know where to start. Here were my top 5 of the album in no particular order.

“In the Dark” - Swae Lee, Jhené Aiko

“Nomad” - Zion.T, Gen Hoshino

“Every Summertime” - NIKI

“Baba Says” - Adawa, Shayiting EL

“War With Heaven” - Keshi

Happy listening!


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