Sunny Hill is a peculiar little pop group, wouldn’t you say? For starters, they’re one of the few successful co-ed groups in Kpop today and a lot of it has to do with their particular musical style that, to many, echoes the “artistry” of their soul mates, Brown Eyed Girls. Sunny Hill are creative, artsy, and as they try their darndest to keep their distance from the Kpop norms, you could say they’ve brought an air of freshness to a relatively stagnant music scene.
On a very personal note though, Sunny Hill’s had to battle trials and tribulations to land anywhere near my fav’s-in-Kpop list, and honestly, they’re still kind of shy of that recognition. The thing is, for a group that has its gaze set on being ‘original’, I find it sincerely conflicting to hand over accolades to Sunny Hill when their flavor of originality is only partly so. I probably stand alone here, but on account of Sunny Hill’s close ties to the production value of the Brown Eyed Girls, I can’t help to presume that somewhere down the line ideas have been crossed and chord progressions traded here and there, and holy shit, all of a sudden, these two groups kind of sound a like.
For somebody whose allegiance has always lied with Brown Eyed Girls over Sunny Hill, these correlating styles don’t want to exist in my mind, therefore I’ve been prone to shaft one of the two, Sunny Hill being the obvious casualty. It’s not the best way to deal with things, but that’s Kpop bias for you.
On the other hand, I don’t think there’s anything extremely blasphemous with labels trading production value between their artists (especially one this special) if and only if those artists’ individual sounds have their own identity, and herein, ladies and gents, lies Sunny Hill’s loop hole to thrive as a pop group and to simultaneously win me as a fan.
So does Sunny Hill’s new single-album, “The Grasshoppers“, have a life of its own? Does it reflect who Sunny Hill are as musicians rather than who they share styles with?
In short: hell fucking yes.
“The Grasshoppers” is sort of everything I’ve wanted to hear from Sunny Hill from the get-go. I know you and your mothers will want to bitch-slap me for saying it, but “Midnight Circus” (EP) felt like it was trying way too hard to come across ‘different’ and ‘weird’ for the sake of being different and weird when it really didn’t have to be. Sunny Hill are already unique and cool, and as I listen to this album, it feels like they’ve gradually learned how to channel their talent and creativity in a nice, congruent manner, which, in my book, makes all the difference.
“The Grasshoppers” only has three songs, but they’re three great ones. All three are riddled with interesting beats, colorful meters, and vibrant melodies. And, if I’m not mistaken, there seems to be a small hint of Celtic influence in the lead single, which I found to be slightly fucking awesome.
The natural eccentricity of these songs play really well with the subtly beautiful timbres within Sunny Hill, and as such, makes for the perfect recipe to attain that interest they strive for in pop audiences without needing to write “WE ARE DIFFERENT, HEAR US” on their foreheads.
“The Grasshoppers” is organic, whimsical, and fun to listen to. Even better is that it finally feels like a proper Sunny Hill collection. It has that relentless BEG touch, but it’s the first time I feel like I’m listening to these guys and no body else. Not to mention that bringing Janghyun back into the vocal equation was the complete icing on the cake.
MV: “베짱이 찬가”
support the artist, buy the music: iTunes