Kakie Pangilinan finally released her debut EP, and it's bringing back ghosts of lovers past
Over the pandemic, Twitter birthed a league of outspoken, no-nonsense kids. Leaders in their own right, they would rally netizens to not only care, but fight for our country. Throughout the past year-and-then-some, they've all seen their own versions of success come to life. Dora Dorado, who famously broke down complicated laws and rulings, has signed on with OC Records. Macoy Dubs, who started creating content about politics, has been featured on many a publication—Wonder included.
And then, there’s Kakie Pangilinan.
The founding force behind the #HijaAko movement. Sharon and Kiko’s daughter. An endearing new addition to the legions of K-pop stans online. Frankie Pangilinan has had countless personas attached to her since the public started zeroing in on her tweets. But these past few months, she’s taken a step back from being @kakiep83, greeting the world as kakie, the musician.
Released in the last few days of 2020, afterparty was a promising first taste of kakie’s comeback. With lyrics like “This is all I want to feel / Anything remotely real” and “Why don't we just talk to each other? Why are we all so scared to be lovers?” cut into a more vulnerable version of the artist.
A few months later, afterparty fell into a grander storyline with the release of abOUT hER SPACE.
The EP title and the way it’s stylized to showcase the universe it contains, sets the scene for the tracks within it. The songs on abOUT hER SPACE are tied together by a sound that can only be described as atmospheric and boundless and heart-shatteringly honest.
abOUT hER SPACE is an EP best listened to in chronological order. The progression from the first song to the last is a clever display of kakie’s strength in storytelling. It carving out a familiar journey through the throes of unrequited love, one most of us know all too well.
The first half of the tracklist is flush with longing. Taking a page from 2020’s battlescars, maybe kicks off with a narration from an anonymous voice before diving into super-rich, Polachek-esque harmonies that become a staple across the EP. afterparty and its dreamy opener fit right in, almost like a flashback to kakie's first meeting with her proverbial lover. don’t tell me you love me just to be kind has is rich with nostalgia in the sense that we’ve all heard something like it, but bask in its wide-open honesty anyway.
There’s a clear break between where don’t tell me you love me just to be kind stops and the fourth track, gone, begins. While they’re tied together by a similarly wistful sound and flow into each other nicely, gone marks the beginning of a new arc within abOUT hER SPACE—one that focuses on love lost. While lining up gone, lost and shatter makes sense in the grander scheme of the EP, it leaves listeners a little hungry for variety. They sound so seamless they’re almost forgettable—a shame for tracks that so clearly highlight kakie’s strengths as a vocalist.
The EP picks up again in hurting, which I’d argue is the most interesting track in abOUT hER SPACE. The low rumbling vocals and the slow sensuality of the beat makes it an immediate standout. hurting hinges on the hesitation of moving on. A reluctant catharsis. It transports listeners to that period of incessant self-questioning that comes after mourning a relationship. Verses bleed into each other like unintelligible post-breakup thoughts do—incoherent and messy and beautiful.
One of my favorite people in the world once said that there’s no such thing as a useless emotion. It seems kakie tweets, writes and lives by the same philosophy.
While I hope to see a little more diversity in her next full release, getting to explore kakie’s mind and music in abundance is an interesting experience. It dials back to the emotions we all had once, or ones forced ourselves to move on from too quickly. In the midst of all these events that are bigger than we are, it's a liberating reminder that feelings—no matter how big or small or fleeting—are best felt warm.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver