K-POP / KOREAN CULTURE / REVIEWS

[Review] Gil Hak Mi’s debut album

This lady is a tease, let me tell you.  Gil Hak Mi‘s debut mini-album ‘Super Soul‘ will toy with your senses and delightfully pull you into uncharted territory ; the dance floor of dance floors.

But before I let this fox sweep you off into a mystical land with electro/hip-hop/dance galore, I suppose I should introduce her since she’s relatively new.

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Gil Hak Mi was the second runner-up of Superstar K, a Korean talent show much like American Idol.  Right off the bat, she was compared to one of today’s fiercest ladies in the K-pop realm, CL of 2NE1, for having a similar stage presence, not to mention her notable rapping skills.

She’s remained on the down low since her exit from the show, but she has now resurfaced with a debut album (which has a total of 6 tracks) and a brand new MV for her first single, “Super Soul“.  ‘Super Soul‘ dropped on the 25th and Gil Hak Mi will probably start her promotional activities pretty soon.

“she signed a contract with Bobby Kim’s company, Oscar Entertainment and has been preparing for her official debut ever since. At the beginning of 2010, she went to New York in order to work on her album.” – allkpop

Super Soul‘ opens with ‘Stand By‘, a song you’d initially believe to be weirdly robotic and staccato, but suddenly hits the breaks on you and completely shifts the style to something more elegant and graceful.  Then! it changes again to its prior, edgy phrasing.  It’s definitely hypnotic and it’s a structure that you probably aren’t used to hearing.

Fiesta (ft. Sean2Slow)‘ is even more hypnotic.  It’s my second favorite songs from this album.  I can define this song with one word right now – Mystical.  The majority of this song is soft, but Gil Hak Mi manages to add an edge to it with electronica elements and otherworldly processing. I really like how the first two seconds of this song get you moving, but then you come to realize that she was just teasing you once she starts singing in a much slower tempo.  It’s pretty awesome.

By the time you reach the third song, ‘Super Soul‘, it becomes clear that there’s an ominous tone hovering above this album.  I’m not sure how much of that assumption is accurate since I don’t understand the lyrics, but the gray cloud is there.  ‘Super Soul’ is the title single and I am a fan of the key she’s singing in, for some reason.  K-pop gets super duper fruity, so I’m glad Gil Hak Mi added a much more soulful and blues-y garnish to this dish.  Savor it!

Moving On‘ reveals a more playful style with a handful of sweet melodies inspired from the 80s.  It’s nice, but not my favorite song off the album.  I’m not much of a fan of loopy choruses.  That’s only near the end, though.

Song number 5 starts off on a shaky foot (not really loving the chorus) but ‘Boom Boom Boom (ft Bobby Kim)‘ redeems itself once the verses kick in. It’s the wonderful instrumentation that personally enthused me. The string section that chimes in between verse and chorus adds so much more dimension.  Without it, this song would’ve been my signal to finally pack my bags and take the next flight back to planet Earth.

The last song, ‘Dream‘, is my favorite song from this album.  I love it!  Gil Hak Mi squeezes in one last, meaningful song full of airy vocals and really pretty lyrics.  She might not have an amazing vocal range, but the way in which she uses her voice sounds beautiful, especially in this song.  She has a very subtle style.  And everyone who helped produce this song, along with the rest of the album, know how to come up with an interesting instrumentation.  Bobby Kim‘s influence resonates loud and clear through out this record.  Which is awesome.

What better way for you to judge than to listen to her yourself!  Here’s her MV for her title song, Super Soul.

4 and a half Sandara Heads out of 5 would love to have this album on repeat right about now.

What are your thoughts on Gil Hak Mi’s debut album?

As a bonus, here is a BEAUTIFUL song by Bobby Kim.  ‘Let Me Say Goodbye‘.  If you’re going through some hardship or a breakup, or are overly sensitive, UM, yeah, this song is like taking an onion to your eyes.  It’s very emotional.  I love it, though!

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6 thoughts on “[Review] Gil Hak Mi’s debut album

  1. I’m loving this album, a lot.
    I dare say she reminds me of Janelle Monae in the sense that she is a world apart from others in her industry.

    Super Soul does things to me, it crept up on me and smothered me in a beat that was scary and new. And her voice is beautiful and well rounded.

    Definitely good material.

  2. I live for music and stumbled on your Review while trying to find translated lyrics to Super Soul. Will post more comments, believe you me!

  3. ooh, i’m liking this! her and min kyung hoon will be my new explorations… that being said, everything sounds good when i’m sick (i think it’s the cold medicine) so i hope i like this music as much when i get better (which will be hopefully be soon…)

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