HOAX Probes Loss and Sorrow on “soju”

Indie-pop/rock outfit HOAX, made up of Michael Raj and Frantz Cesar, recently released the ninth and final single from their debut concept album, b?, which explores the inner workings of being vs. doing.

Talking about the song, Michael Raj says, “2021 was one of the toughest years of my life. It’s probably just confirmation bias, but death came to me in threes. I lost my grandmother, my dog (Luna), and then my grandfather. I wanted to express the grief I felt, but through the lens of my grandfather and all the pain he endured before his time finally came. The instrumental for ‘soju’ was written back in 2019, but all the lyrics I would write for it held no weight. It was only now after this year of loss did the words come to finally give me peace with it.”

HOAX’s sound is simultaneously contemporary and retro, blending elements of ‘60s pop, ‘70s Motown, and alternative R&B into stylish music they call “empathy pop.” With a string of successful singles, such as “Beach House,” “Grow,” “Moon Moon Baby,” and “more than you know,” HOAX has amassed millions of Spotify streams, as well as more than 121,000 monthly listeners.

“soju” opens on percolating keyboards topped by potent, whispery vocals. When the rhythm enters, the tune takes on savors of luscious R&B laced with tangs of pop coloration. The syncopated beat imbues the tune with an angular magnetism as layers of radiant leitmotifs glide overhead.

Although the feel and flow of the song are upbeat, the lyrics delve into the darker topics of death and grief, moments when all seems lost and meaningless. Yet through the shadows, the lyrics press listeners not to give up on love. When you lose a loved one, rather than regress, expand – love even deeper.

With “soju,” HOAX delivers grand flavors of R&B merged with pop, resulting in an alluring song rife with a significant message.

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Written by Randy

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.