Jackson Wang goes on a cycle of self-discovery in ‘MAGIC MAN’ — album


Jackson Wang is a familiar name to many. 

From being part of the award-winning K-pop group GOT7, the founder and mastermind behind rising music collective PANTHEPACK, to the creative director of world-renowned streetwear brand TEAM WANG design, he is many things. But with the release of his highly awaited album, he is MAGIC MAN

This is a side of Jackson that we have yet to see, mainly in view of the fact that it’s a part of himself he only recently discovered. In an honest and revealing letter, the singer shared how he spent a year buried in work and in a constant cycle of loneliness, consequently losing his spark and sense of self. 

“I was lost, not connected with anyone also believing that talking to anyone wouldn’t make any difference. And for the first time, I do not want to face them anymore. I tried avoiding them. [It] got to a point that I was lost without passion and I wasn’t inspired to think, to function, to have a healthy mindset, or to even breathe,” Jackson revealed. 

It’s this state of loss and desperation that kicks off his sophomore album.

‘Blow’, which we first heard in March, toys with temptation as we see Jackson give in to something bad yet so alluring, The addiction grows stronger in the beautiful mental breakdown that is ‘Cruel’, where the multi-faceted artist lays out the distorted world he’s built for MAGIC MAN

With each track, we travel deeper into Jackson’s mind as he confronts the pain and negativity that’s plagued his journey against sultry and playful grooves underlined by a flurry of sexy basslines. 

Sonically, Jackson first found his footing in loud and bold hip-hop, it’s what everyone expected from the rapper. But with MAGIC MAN, he finds a new sound, one much more grand, dramatic, and impassioned as he settles into synthwave alt-rock melodies that work so beautifully. 

It’s a style of music he’s been building up to with the release of singles like ‘Drive You Home’ and ‘LMLY’ in 2021 and it reaches its pinnacle in MAGIC MAN. This is considerably the best Jackson has ever sounded, knowing exactly where he lies on the vocal scale and utilising his voice in the best way possible.

Jackson ends his letter with, “I realized music is art and art is based on a very personal preference. It’s not something we complete as missions or tasks, nor is it something that could be calculated in a dead equation. It’s a feeling.”

In the same way, as we approach the album’s end, MAGIC MAN doesn’t have a definitive conclusion to the singer’s journey of self-discovery. You hear it in ‘Dopamine’ where his search for happiness continues, and ‘Blue’ where we feel traces of darkness seep in once more. 

The album is an ever-going cycle; but unlike the one that inspired this very record, this one’s hopeful. The journey to happiness is never linear or smooth, it is sometimes intercepted with detours that lead you a couple of steps backwards, and MAGIC MAN showcases just that. 

The entire world of MAGIC MAN sees Jackson traverse a new reality rampant with temptation, desire, and darkness. It’s honest, harrowing, and real—something we rarely ever get to see from the K-pop star turned global icon who has almost never shown a moment of weakness in the past 8 years he’s been under the limelight. 

The album has depth, in more ways than one. It’s an entire world that despite being so intricately constructed is raw and vulnerable, laced with so much personal pain, emotion, and realisation. The record sees Jackson explore so much of his artistry in the grandest way possible and in the process, uncovered who he’s truly meant to be. 

Listen to Jackson Wang’s MAGIC MAN here.