Boba reaches peak cultural relevance on LIA LIA’s “Boba Boba”
Over the last few years, boba (or bubble tea, for the rest of you people) has went from a niche Taiwanese beverage to a full-blown cultural craze. Go to any major city in the world and you’ll be able to get your hands on the delicious, highly-addictive drink. It’s a cultural icon that has even permeated pop culture: television shows, art memes (search “boba date meme”), and music are no exception. However, it doesn’t seem like the boba bubble is ready to burst anytime soon. As it turns out, it makes for a damn catchy topic to center a pop song around.
That’s the idea behind Chinese-German pop singer LIA LIA’s “Boba Boba,” an ode to—you guessed it—the magic of drinking boba. Over a hyperactive, fittingly sugar-inflicted beat, “Boba Boba” is addictive, just like the drink itself. Coexisting in the same space as other glossy bubblegum electro-pop divas (LIZ, Slayyyter, Charli XCX), LIA LIA’s sound even incorporates some discordant grinding noises that even out the sweetness of the track. The word “boba” is doubly broken down to line the track: “Bo-ba / Bo-ba!” LIA LIA sings over and over again. Such is the power of the drink… not only is it “better than x, pop, cocaine,” (actual lyics in the song!) but it makes for a great sonic signifier.
If that weren’t enough, LIA LIA is also joined by “Big Slaysian Energy” proponent Slay Rizz for a quick verse about “big booty energy,” rebellion, and being feisty—a perfect juxtaposition to LIA LIA’s own verse about ruling the world via boba. But whether the two are gunning for world domination by way of beverage or not, they’ve certainly succeeded in dominating your brain with earworms for the rest of the day. There’s no escape either: any self-respecting DJ will definitely add this song to their setlist.
Although “Boba Boba” is a bit cheesy and definitely comedic, it doesn’t take itself too seriously… and neither should you. It’s a song that has the power to be a bit polarizing, giving it potential to hit it big. “Boba Boba” can make you cringe or go all in—that’s what makes it such a memorable song.
Even if boba turns out to be a fad, at least we’ll have this song to remind us of its significance.
Li-Wei Chu is the chief editor of From the Intercom. When he’s not editing drafts and searching for new artists to cover for the website, he loves watching cult films, cooking, and listening to his ever-growing collection of vinyl records. You can follow him on LetterBoxd and make fun of his taste in movies here!