Premiere: [mila] Defeat Toxic Obstacles with Energized Debut Single “Thuong Qua Is Vietnamese For I Love You”

[mila] © Hunter Lenoir
[mila] © Hunter Lenoir
With their debut single “Thuong Qua Is Vietnamese For I Love You,” Boston alt-pop band [mila] emphasize the relatability of things that can seem incomprehensibly personal.
“Thuong Qua Is Vietnamese For I Love You” – [mila]




Whatever language we communicate in, love is universal.

That’s because saying I love you isn’t just a combination of words but often a transmitting of deep emotion that can be expressed without needing to speak. However, being able to say it in a way that feels somewhat secretive, understood immediately between you and the person special to you and perhaps less so amongst those around you, can make that bond feel even stronger.

Thuong Qua Is Vietnamese For I Love You - [mila]
Thuong Qua Is Vietnamese For I Love You – [mila]
I’m craving clear between my fingers
Your fragrance that lingers
It’s what gets me through my day after all
If you’re a sin, then I’m a sinner
You’re fire, I’m cinders
Cuz we don’t speak in love
It’s Thuong Qua

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Thuong Qua Is Vietnamese For I Love You” by Massachusetts-based group [mila]. As a debut single, it’s fun and energized with a sweeping sense of melancholy and an overall emitting of 2000s’ emo vibes. [mila] consists of CJ Lawlor and Wren Mohammed, a duo who met while working together in 2018 and forming an instant connection. Having taken part in Massachusetts metal bands Climb and Skycap, [mila] feels like a lighter approach, a way of spreading joy with a touch of attitude at the same time.

“”Thuong Qua Is Vietnamese For I Love You” is a song about being face to face with things you know are toxic, and wanting to have the strength to choose things that are more wholesome and healthy for you,” Wren Mohammed tells Atwood Magazine. “On a macro level, it’s about vaping. On a micro level, it’s about love. Beyond connecting with the lyrics of the song, I think I speak for both CJ and I when I say we really just want people to be able to romanticize their lives to our music.”

[mila] © Hunter Lenoir
[mila] © Hunter Lenoir


The accompanying video, directed by Caleb Spilios, functions like snippets of everyday life with mundane and solitary activities put in the spotlight: a janitor cleaning, someone lifting weights in front of a mirror and someone sat bored in their office. While these individuals are all seemingly completely different in personalities, there is one thing that bonds them: The empowering quality that music can have on us. In all of these cases there’s a mysterious man in suit and sunglasses who silently appears and stands intimidatingly before them. As soon as the individuals play him the song they’re listing to, he falls to the ground in a fit. To take the case of the janitor, the mysterious man had come to warn him that music is forbidden in the room. He snatches the device, throws it in the bucket water, but the music doesn’t drown. This suited figure can be seen as the personification of the things that are toxic and overpowering, therefore making “Thuong Qua Is Vietnamese For I Love You” representative of the ways we can defeat that.

“The song at its core is about being trapped by toxic habits, like when you can’t sleep and it’s all you think about it,” explains Mohammed. “Sometimes when you’re in so deep with things you know aren’t good for you, you just feel like “What’s the point in stopping now or trying to get better” right? In those moments, where you’re so lost things just seem hopeless, you need something to inspire you to carry on. For me it was my partner. For a long time I just felt so lost, and that like destroying myself was all that was left for me. But she made me want to be better.”

Down bad
Decisions I’ll regret in the long run
Short sighted, breeding short term satisfaction
This obsequious embracing’s just not the cure
To the sickness I’m facing
If I could look back on it
Do nothing more, but reminisce
[mila] © Hunter Lenoir
[mila] © Hunter Lenoir


The ways of overcoming negativity are personal and often only make sense to the individual.

You’re fire, I’m cinders, ’cause we don’t speak in love. It’s Thuong Qua,’” goes the chorus of this debut single, the ‘thuong qua’ blending into the rhythm of the music.

“My partner is half Vietnamese, and her mother has been teaching me to speak Vietnamese. ‘Thuong qua’ was one of the first things she taught me,” Mohammed tells Atwood Magazine in regard to the meaning behind the title. “We tell each other “I love you” all the time, but being able to tell her in her mother tongue? It’s something deeper about it you know?”

Essentially everyone has their way of expressing love and reassurance and the personal aspect of this can make it more powerful. Stream “Thuong Qua Is Vietnamese For I Love You” exclusively on Atwood Magazine! [mila]’s debut single is out everywhere on March 10, 2023.

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:: stream/purchase [mila]’s debut single here ::
“Thuong Qua Is Vietnamese For I Love You” – [mila]



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Thuong Qua Is Vietnamese For I Love You - [mila]

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? © Hunter Lenoir


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