Reviews

James Lee Ruminates on Heartbreak On Emotional Castles EP

James Lee, formerly of the K-pop band Royal Pirates. has released his second EP Castles. The 7-track album follows 2018’s The Light EP and a slew of solo singles. On Castles, the Korean-American musician ruminates on relationships, heartbreak and ultimately growth over a blend of acoustic pop, rock and EDM.

According to a press release, Lee reveals the new project was self-written and produced.

Castles is a milestone in my career that expresses the growth I’ve had as a writer and a producer. When I wrote The Light EP, I relied on the help from some fantastic producers, but for Castles I trusted myself. Even though it was based on the thought of sandcastles washing away, I still find myself reflecting on the process and journey of creating rather than sulking over what’s lost. I’ve become a realistic optimist.”

The story begins with the relatable “Bad Day.” The emotional lyrics combined with synths and dreamy soundscapes are reminiscent of LANY and Lauv’s signature works.

The singer-songwriter continues to detail the aftermath and the immediate raw feelings of a breakup on the EDM trap-laced “Over Us” and “Adrenaline.”

“Baby I miss you // Come back to me // I’m praying above // Now I’m down on my knees,” he confesses.

A stripped-down version of “Over Us” is also included on the EP, suiting the overall vibe of the song well.

On the next track, he wanted to “Erase” all the memories — and we totally get it.

“Liar” offers another intimate view of all the confusing thoughts we may have post-breakup.

The theme and visuals are all laid out on the titular track “Castles,” as we all know things can be just as fragile as sandcastles by the sea.

Even after a storied career and an unfortunate accident that left him unable to play bass and affected his overall health, the resilience shines as the 32-year-old can start fresh once again. Castles is a reminder to appreciate things as they come and look forward to rehabilitation and new beginnings.

Listen to James Lee’s Castles here.

Featured Image: Instagram (@jamesjhl)

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