Katherine Li’s sophomore EP ‘love, k’ is the ultimate teenage girl’s anthem for love

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Katherine Li - "love, k" EP cover artwork

Recommended Tracks: “Fell First, Fell Hard”, “Like Me, Like Me”, “More Often Than Not

Artists You Might Like:  Avery Lynch, Dylan Conrique, Lexi Jayde

You have probably had a crush at least once in your life if not more than once. Maybe you dreamed about that person, wondering who you are to each other and that painful question arises: “What are we”? Love comes in all shades, and oftentimes it’s the disillusionment of romance that creeps up on us. Katherine Li knows this truth all too well and seeks to answer the infamous question about love throughout the 8-track EP titled love, k. Li is known for her hopeless romantic sentiments and released her first single, “We Didn’t Even Date,” on Valentine’s Day in 2022.

Li now returns two years later with her sophomore EP, love, k, released on Feb. 14, which is a love letter to those with a crush they can’t seem to escape from. It might feel like being whisked away in a fairytale – only Li isn’t so lucky and doesn’t get her Prince Charming. Instead, she aims to answer the burning questions that come with uncertain love, capturing the universal emotions that swirl around girls’ brains when they start crushing on someone.

The soft and rhythmic clapping begins as the first song opens, accompanied by Li’s notable piano playing. The track “Fell First, Fell Hard” captures that ubiquitous moment when you find yourself falling for someone — and falling hard. In the bridge, Li sings, “I don’t mean to be a creep / There’s someone perfect for you… me / Don’t wanna be dramatic but what if it’s love?” The experience is intense and fast, making it feel like everything is falling into place. It’s like that crush who doesn’t know you exist but still manages to give you instant butterflies; this sends the listener on an emotional roller coaster into what early romance is like. 

In this quest to understand what love means, Li grapples with unrequited love, trying to make the other person see her the way she sees them. She finds herself forced to reckon with the blame and internal struggles that arise when she can’t be with the person whom she loves in “Could I Convince.” She capitalizes on the feelings felt in “Fell First, Fell Hard,” with the melody building up in the bridge. It feels like chasing a love you can’t have in this sped-up beat, “I blame it all on how we somehow ended up in that park / That stupid Wednesday in October that’s when you broke my heart / And said we wouldn’t match so easily,” before admitting that, “Clearly you haven’t seen us in my dreams.” 

Li spends the remaining tracks pining for this person. In “Really Mean It,” she attempts to convey her feelings while the other person remains oblivious to her confession. In this struggle for the other person to understand her feelings, she expresses a desire to convince the other person to see things from her perspective. Struggling to remain friends with this person, she wishes she was somebody else in “If I Weren’t Me,” feeling as though she is not good enough, singing, “If I was cooler, put together / If I could redo that first encounter / Who would I be? / Maybe I wouldn’t be me,” in this bright and passionate chorus that makes the listener feel just as frustrated and fed up with everything as Li is. She conveys a sense of longing and uncertainty about whether the other person shares her similar sentiments in “Isn’t It Obvious,” where she sings, “Isn’t it obvious that I’ve only been looking at you? / Isn’t it obvious, whenever I freeze, you’re in the room? / Are you gonna make a movе?” The song manages to capture the emotional tension and uncertainty that accompany an unspoken romance.

However, there comes a point where we must express our frustration and be loud about it. A turning point for the EP occurs in “I Just Wanna Know,” with the synchronized synths and abrupt drum beats exuding a sense of anger. In the confusion, frustration and tiredness over the constant disappointment, Li sings, “I just wanna know what we are / Is there something, or are we just / Friends who make out in your car / Every Friday night.” The early stages of romance — or before it even starts — is something she manages to capture.

In “Like Me, Like Me,” Li seemingly underscores the romantic struggles of every teenage girl. In the poignant second pre-chorus, she sings, “Did you purposefully / Get my hopes up just to haunt me?” As girls, we often build up this magical, happily-ever-after in our heads — but it’s not real. In the chorus, Li sings, “What if you’re just nice? You’re just saying ‘hi,’” expressing her candid feelings brazenly and without fault. Li bares her soul, sharing the pain of unrequited love in the concluding track, “More Often Than Not”; in this track, she remains unapologetically honest about her feelings. But she is simply a hopeless romantic at heart, yearning for a love she can’t have — and that is something she won’t apologize for. She expresses these sentiments in the pre-chorus, “I want someone who can sweep me off my feet / In the way I’ve always dreamed so I’m not sorry.” In this piano-led ballad, she self-reflects on her perception of love and pining in arguably the most brutally honest of all of the tracks.

Li’s sophomore EP is an unapologetically sincere body of work from a hopeless romantic, with the final lyrics of the entire EP encompassing Li’s most vulnerable: “Hopeless romantic / Yeah, that’s me / And someday love won’t be something I just make-believe.” Love is not something to give up easily; girls want to “find something real.” love, k is every teenage girl’s anthem — it’s an anthem of crushes, confessions and eternal love. 

Keep up with Katherine Li: Instagram // Spotify // TikTok // X // YouTube 

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