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Hana Vu Releases New Single/Video “Hammer” – New Album “Romanticism” Out 3rd May via Ghostly International

March 15, 2024
Photo Credit: Andrew Yuyi Truon

Hana Vu Releases New Single/Video “Hammer”

Romanticism, New Album, Out 3rd May Via Ghostly International

Last month, Los-Angeles based Hana Vu announced her new album, Romanticism, will be released 3rd May via Ghostly International. The “indie-pop prodigy” (Los Angeles Times) releases the album’s second single, “Hammer,” with an accompanying video.

Following the lead single “Care,” “Hammer” is a muscular, soaring anthem, which layers clipped guitar and mandolin strums with an ascending, floor-coating bass. “And I called the doctor and he said / There’s nothing wrong / And I called the pastor / And he said that love is strong,” Vu chants. While Hana isn’t religious, she is spiritual, and music and songwriting are a place where she goes to connect with her spirituality. “There is no answer / but I want one anyway,” she continues to probe, illustrating the great sense of seeking that pervades Romanticism.  “I do plead with the world, or the universe, in writing,” Vu says of her writing process. “My writing of songs is where I feel inclined to ask questions and look for answers within myself. ‘Hammer’ is one of the first songs I wrote for this record. It’s one of those songs you write to yourself amidst existential crisis. Maybe that’s what all songs are.”

The song’s accompanying video, directed by Henry Kaplan, sees Vu moving through a series of seemingly infinite loops. The moments build to a crisis and ultimately: release. With camera direction partially inspired by a scene from the 1974 film The Conversation, the video doesn’t just repeat the same shot, but rather plays around with different start and end times, creating a feeling of jumping around within this repeated reality. Kaplan explains, “‘Hammer’ does the thing that I love most about Hana’s music: it expresses something primal, almost indescribable, about what it’s like to be alive. I wanted the video to somehow tap into that anxious, existential energy. I thought about what it’s like when you’re going through something, when every moment seems to loop endlessly in your brain until you manage to somehow find release. This innocent ‘thought’ led to Hana doing 50+ takes of herself running up to her jilted Scorpio ex’s door.

The lyrics and the depth of the vocal harmonies immediately bring this emotional connection to the landscape, something the audience can grip to automatically. Hana Vu’s vocals embrace this power on the exploration that hits harder than usual, the importance of the lyrics is immortalised through this emotive and essential journey.

Vu blew us away when we first discovered this compelling artist a few years ago, now Hana has returned with the second single from the new album, a track that captures such clarity and confidence. Whilst the vocal notes drive the force, the soundscape starts to expand and enthral as it meanders to find this gritty influence. This powerful array of emotions emits from the dynamic vocal melodies and the intensity of those notes striking through that alternating atmosphere. Hana Vu has again captured this transcendent exploration that oozes this abundance of almighty hooks and Vu’s renowned addictive energy. There is this fearless quality to Vu and that reigns down into each vivid arrangement, you can’t help but be impressed with that stunning attribute as it pulls you in.

Following the release of her 2021 debut album Public Storage, Vu was praised by the NME for her “contemplative indie-pop [which] captures the disillusionment of young adulthood.” Her second album, Romanticism, aches with a similar depth and intimacy as Vu expands on this, mourning the impermanence of youth. Vu and Jackson Phillips reunite here, co-producing songs both lush and loud, reminiscent of guitar-heavy late-aughts indie rock, and futuristic with layered synth bass. They pulse with meaning and jolt with playfulness, anchored by Vu’s powerful, sonorous voice. “I’m just trying to convey my perspective as boldly as possible. To succinctly crystallize how it feels to be young, but also to be deeply sad.” Romanticism fills out the coming-of-age experience, underlining the angst and dissolution of adolescence with slick, sorrowful precision. An artist aware of the contradictory compulsions of growth and human nature, Vu leans into that truth in juxtaposition. 

“Being young, there’s so much that I experience for the first time, all the time. But as I experience more things, I become more desensitized to those things,” Vu explains. “You get wiser–– I feel quite wiser–– but less fervent, less hopeful.” She captures this liminal state poetically. Many of the songs on Romanticism invoke the contradictory feelings of youth directly, while most of them wander into the existential, and all of them are written concisely while providing windows of grand emotion. Most potently, Romanticism, which has less to do with lovetorn ballads than the 1700s era of European school of thought, captures the luster of impermanence, in all its building wisdom, in all its funneling hope. This album showcases how thrilling it can be to look directly at our feelings, to sing their sorrows and praise. Under Vu’s magnetic gaze, soaking up sadness has never felt so alive.

Pre-order Romanticism

Romanticism Tracklist:

1.  Look Alive

2. Hammer

3. Alone

4. 22

5. Care

6. How it Goes

7. Dreams

8. Find Me Under Wilted Trees

9. Airplane

10. Play

11. I Draw a Heart

12. Love


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