I Like You – [Ai Bendr]

Although I truly dove in the deep end last year and discovered some unbelievably talented new artists, Ai Bendr had to be one of the most impressive talents that came across my radar. Her voice is just absolutely spectacular, her emotions are raw and revealing, and her professionalism has gone such a long way for her blossoming career as well. What’s even more impressive than anything is the fact that she’s only 17, so although she might seem to have everything perfected at this point, she still has room to grow. This should be frightening for other artists to an extent because it might be game over for them once Ai truly reaches her final form.

At the end of last week, she decided to bless fans with a brand-new song and music video combination for a track entitled “I Like You”. On this record, the instrumental is kept to a minimum by the song’s producer Chapters, incorporating a strong piano base with other elements that seem to build as the song goes on. While the production is awesome, Ai truly steals the show as she always does. Starting out, her voice is very quiet and calm as if to not get ahead of herself when dissecting through the lyrics, but as we progress throughout the track, she begins to let her true emotions fly freely and not worry about what the results will be because her emotions seem to just completely take over her actions.

Lyrically, it seems as if it’s a message to a significant other where she gives them a piece of her heart, describing how she needs them in her life and although it’s a scary message because it might not get reciprocated, she feels as if the other person needs to hear it. At the end of the day, she seems to know that this relationship might not work out but there’s no reason to not necessarily at least give it a try to see what could happen, so she goes for it and pretty much shoots her shot. We’ve all been there when we’ve had a crush on someone and it seems like the biggest deal in the world, so as you go to tell them your feelings, your heart races and your mind is scrambles until the phrase “I Like You” comes out and there’s no going back. To me, it feels as if Ai is vocalizing all of these thoughts, worries, and emotions before finally reaching the chorus which is the moment she shares her feelings once and for all.

In the music video, we are taken to a somewhat simple setting where Ai is sitting in front of a wall that contains a door and some windows. There is a retro-inspired filter that makes the footage look somewhat grainy, but I think it’s a nice contribution to the visual. On the other side of the wall, there’s a boy who sings along to the song as if he’s going through the exact same emotions in his own head, but she has no idea, just like he is clueless about her feelings as well. In the hook, when she mentions phrases like “I like you” or “I want you”, a red light flashes for a moment as if to highlight these simple yet powerful phrases. Eventually, the two get up and begin dancing, looking at each other through the windows as the lighting begins to change yet again. Finally, the visual ends with the door opening and the two coming face to face before Ai seems to lean in for a kiss that the boy, unfortunately, turns away from, leaving an understandably shocked expression on her face to bring the video to a close.

Few artists are able to connect with me on a personal level and make me experience emotions quite like Ai does which makes every single new release she drops absolutely mandatory, in my opinion. I don’t typically listen to slower records like this one, but Ai is so multifaceted that I have to tune in no matter what, and she never fails to impress. Last year was a huge year for the rising talent and it was capped off with her song “Love Me Low” being featured in an episode of HBO’s popular series Euphoria, so I can only imagine that 2021 is going to be even bigger for her. If Ai Bendr is somehow not on your radar at this point, make sure to change that immediately and check out her latest offering “I Like You”.