Nostalgia is a funny thing. It is an entirely fluid and elusive sensation, unable to be intentionally synthesised. It goes hand in hand with music, solidifying memories forever in our psyche. The North London singer-songwriter has perfectly captured this wistful essence, encapsulating the same evocative energy from the artists that defined the teens of the 2000s.
It’s safe to say we’ve all struggled during this chaotic pandemonium, bound to solitude and the ever-present burden of paranoia. A habitual reliance on multi-media platforms was once a culture associated with the younger generation, however with human contact rendered limited by the pandemic, its effect and influence has become a disease of its own.
Behind what seem to be innocent labels lie a sinister trinity of liking, commenting & following, fuelling a toxic social media culture that continues to infest into modern society; “dictated by the binary codes” as Hongza puts so brutally.
In what can only be described as is a vivid tribute to these struggles, ‘Accolades’ is a heart-on-sleeve tale about self-care, marrying a shimmering concoction of woozy instrumentation with the ever-important presence of indelible lyricism. Imagine the feeling of being drunk on indecision, trapped by a smokescreen of false confidence that refuses to waver, yet still driven by the rosy viewpoint of juvenescence. We are after all flawed beings, and emotional instability is one of our most visceral imperfections.
Taking components from a range of genres will always leave you with a conflated end-product, albeit either struggling for identity or bound to its own design altogether. Following a motif of the latter, Accolades borrows the stylistic ideals of indie pop and shoegaze and melds it into the angular melodies of math-rock, creating a hazy and vibrant alloy akin to the sonic ambiguity of Slowdive.
“Being in Lockdown is such a crazy experience, I had so much time that I was spending insane amounts of hours on my phone and making TikTok videos. I got caught in this mess where I thought my self-worth came from how many people commented on my videos & how many people followed me. Which is not true! I guess this is a lockdown to take care of your mental health & this track is a digital wellbeing anthem for me.”Hongza
Behind the moniker, singer-songwriter Sam Hong has always been fuelled by a curiosity to defy his own personal constraints, after growing up in a Vietnamese household where any pursuit of music was deemed as a fantastical venture rather than a practical career-path.
In a way, this record serves as a reminder of our ability to overcome obstacles. Being trapped by a cultural roadblock is one thing, but to be confined by the power of your own mind is another entirely. The influence of will and courage are beyond measure, and tapping into their strength is as elusive as quicksilver. Nobody ever talks about their emotional failures, but Hongza has placed his on a pedestal in an honest and spirited display of fortitude.
Accolades? this guy’s got a f**k load.