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mui zyu, 'Rotten Bun'

mui zyu's "Rotten Bun," off her forthcoming debut album, Rotten Bun for an Eggless Century, opens with a running piano ballad. The Hong Kong British artist, born Eva Liu, is on a mission to escape. She outstretches her hand, inviting you to come with her into a fantasy world run by sorcerers, witches and lonesome warriors. Clam shells swallow dinosaurs whole, but zyu quells any fear. "Rotten bun, scarred by everyone / Just hold my hand, let's break away from them," she innocently asks, her voice swelling in tandem with the piano.

Perhaps there is no instrument more fitting than an erhu to repeat zyu's haunting calls. In a beautiful solo, the two-stringed fiddle instrument, whose origins can be found in Central Asia, takes on a voice of its own — weeping over a heart pierced by the pain of others. The song ultimately closes with zyu's final demand: "Let them rot away," she desperately pleads over a whirlwind of piano, electronic guitar and pulsating bass. The mourning is over; it's time to get up.

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Teresa Xie
Teresa Xie is a reporter who specializes in media and culture writing. She recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied political science and cinema. Outside of NPR, her work can be found in Pitchfork, Vox, Teen Vogue, Bloomberg, Stereogum and other outlets.