CHAI’s Songs That Inspired Their New Album “WINK”

BROCKHAMPTON, Yaeji, TLC, Mac Miller, and more made the Tokyo-based fourpiece’s playlist.
CHAI’s Songs That Inspired Their New Album “WINK”

BROCKHAMPTON, Yaeji, TLC, Mac Miller, and more made the Tokyo-based fourpiece’s playlist.

Words: Mike LeSuer

photo by Yoshio Nakaiso

May 21, 2021

If you’ve ever heard a single CHAI song—or even just seen one of their photoshoots—you probably have some idea of how much fun the Tokyo-based fourpiece is having with their music, and with each other. Their sound is a whirlwind of punk, hip-hop, J-pop, and dance music that feels inspired by an equal amount of time spent with the aux cord between the four of them, making their guest appearance on the latest Gorillaz release alongside JPEGMAFIA one of the least surprising collaborations on that album. 

That sense of collaboration rears its head on the band’s third album and first for Sub Pop, WINK, which features verses from versatile Chicago emcee Ric Wilson and LA synth-funk staple Mndsgn. The record lacks any sense of the intensity of most popular dance music today, instead leaning on the inspiration of fellow playful, collaborative innovators like BROCKHAMPTON and The Internet and the feel-good pop being churned out by the likes of Lizzo and Yaeji.

To give us a better idea of which tracks the quartet bonded over during the making of WINK, CHAI have cobbled together a playlist of some of the influences they worked into their latest release. Hear the new album, out today, here, and check out their playlist and very enthusiastic writeup below.

TLC, “Waterfalls”

It’s something about that feeling of “bringing you back,” that nostalgic atmosphere this song creates that we love! We love how the rhythm and melody organically brings you back to that time. Even though we, personally, can’t reflect on this exact time, we can feel it! It’s something about the atmosphere that this song creates!

The Internet, “Get Away”

My go-to band whenever we’re in the mood to create! The arrangement in their songs is indescribably “them”! You listen once and you can’t get it out of your head! That’s what this song does for us. “This is the type of person I want to be” is how this song and their other songs make you feel! 

Mac Miller, “Good News”

“Good News” could only have been done by Mac Miller! Not sure if we’re right or wrong but it’s the melody in this song for us! We were really inspired by the melody in this song, the overall tone, the sarcasm, how he’s singing, all of it!


The comradery—that’s something we value, too! Listening to this song makes you, too, want to be a part of BROCKHAMPTON! It’s that “team” or “crew” feel that this song exudes that we really love!

Beastie Boys, “Ch-Check It Out”

It’s the intensity, the nostalgic-feeling it brings, strength, yet simplicity that we love! It makes you want to shout! It’s that rebellious spirit that resonates well in music and this song definitely makes you feel that. So cool!

Lizzo, “Juice”

So much respect for Lizzo in creating this super uplifting and energizing melody! We love her style, her message, and respect her so much as an overall artist! When we first heard this song, all we could think was, “Yeah, this is definitely it! This is the type of music we love!” It’s the type of song you can’t go without listening to! It’s our go-to motivational song before hitting the stage!

Yaeji, “When I Grow Up”

The melody!  So original!  The way she sings, the overall vibe is what we love!  We really love Artists who create songs with unique melodies!  Yaeji is really one of a kind, she’s still herself while introducing to the world a whole new kind of music!

Bee Gees, “How Deep Is Your Love”

We’ve been saved so many times by this song!  The melody in this song is just filled with love.  Every time we create our melodies, we start by thinking of the melody in this song.  It’s the type of the song you can listen to at any age and at any place!  No matter how you’re feeling, this song will carry you through!

Billie Eilish, “Therefore I Am”

The Artist who set off a revolution!  Billie!  So much respect for her.  We love everything about her music, from the strength, the coolness, the love, to the satire you hear!  She gave life to a new sound!

Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, “Sunday Candy”

The vibe of this song just brings you instant comfort, happiness, and puts you in the “giving” mood!  You just want to gift someone with something, something like this song.