[Review][Album] Sunny Hill – “The Grasshoppers”

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.

나쁜 남자” | “술래잡기

MV: “베짱이 찬가”

support the artist, buy the music: iTunes


12 thoughts on “[Review][Album] Sunny Hill – “The Grasshoppers”

  1. Is Sunny Hill under Nega? I thought they moved to Loen? :o

    I agree with all of it, I mean it’s only three songs, but I genuinely love all three songs. Midnight Circus was a bit too shrill for me, but Grasshopper is fantastic. Totally in love with it. It’s so quirky :D I honestly wasn’t a fan of Sunny Hill’s previous work, as well. Which is a shame because the girls in the group (particularly Kota) honestly posses some of my favourite vocals in the entirety of K-Pop. :3

    ” 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”

    Aah, bias >.< I'm probably the only one who doesn't let it irk me too much. Because honestly, these bands don't write their own songs. And whilst I don't condemn them for it or anything, I can't take either side when it comes to two bands having similar styles. Because technically speaking it's not 'their' style, it's their producers.

    It's the same kind of thing with FT Island and CN Blue. They have the same songwriters, they come from the same company, their production is bound to be ridiculously similar. And they don't write their own songs — so how am I to shaft any one of them when both have such minimal creative control over what they perform?

    • Ah! You’re right – SH is under Loen -_- But I think I read somewhere that they DO write some of their music. Janghyun even produced some of their Midnight Circus stuff o_o

      I think he had a hand in working with some of BEG’s recent music, too, so um, somebody separate these two, please.

      I think it irks me because I know Sunny Hill and BEG could easily be treated very differently, but they just seem to churn out the same styles close to each others promo periods. Like, the first song on this EP could have been on Sixth Sense and I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash. It’s so jazzy-meets-edgy, that I would rather SH take that uniqueness of theirs an venture into something else. Like what they did here. I love the Irish-ish vibes in the lead. It’s so fresh and so cool that I actually believe it to be a SH piece.

      I won’t even get into FTI and CNB (check out the fanwar over at our FTI “Return” review O.O)

      • Really? Janghyun produces Sunny Hill and BEG’s stuff :o Then shouldn’t BEG be the one shafted…

        I don’t know, I think music-wise BEG comes off less ‘try-hard’ to me. AND BEFORE ANYBODY THROWS ME AT A STAKE I DON’T LITERALLY MEAN SUNNY HILL IS TRY-HARD. But it’s just previously SH just threw everything at you it was hard to take in ._.

        …I didn’t know FTI and CNB fans were so hxc. Come on Prima Donnas D: Be the better person D:

        • I totally agree @ throwing everything in our faces at once.”The Grasshoppers” is still artsy, but it doesn’t come across like they over-thought it, and that’s how I think a lot of artists should approach their music.

          Just let the creative juices flow, man!

    • They write their own songs… Janghyun produced their album Midnight Circus..Miryo and Jea write their own songs.. Miryo took part also in Abracadabra, Sign and LOVE (this was said on BEG’s interview in Taxi) aside from the fact that she wrote all her raps in all of the songs in their albums (as in all)… that’s why the other members say that she has the highest income among all of them because of her royalties… As for Jea she’s been writing songs for the group since their second album such as Hypnosis, I’ll do well for their 3rd album and Inconvenient truth for the fourth album and Gain and Jo Kwon’s We fell in love.. She also wrote for other artist such as Zia which is in LOEN.. BTW Loen and Nega are sister companies… As for SH and BEG their music seem kinda similar well i think because they are working w/ the same composers Lee Minsoo and Kim Eana (ok erase i don’t think so because IU have the same composer but still her material is different from BEG)… Well maybe because there’s still an exchange of idea between the groups… For their Midnight Circus album SH thanked Jea because she visits SH in their recording studio and gave them lots of advices and one of it was doing the high note ad-lib on stage for Midnight Circus. But for BEG’s recent albums no Janghyun was not involved in making the album. As for separating these two i think that would be hard since BEG is really close w/ SH as you can see they’ve been supporting SH’s comeback in whatever way they can ever since last year from starring in SH’s teasers to advices and even giving shoutouts to people to support SH…

  2. i agree that it has nothing to do w/ the composers since BEG and SH have been working w/ same production team already when they were in Nega but you could easily definitely differentiate their music. BEG started out wanting to be a group that could switch from one genre to another which they have proven through out the years even with the members solo releases and even with the change in genre you’d still know its BEG. Usually their songs have deep meanings or about sadness, longing, others say dark. As opposed to SH’s music which is more sunny just like their name as described by their fans. because SH goal then was to make music that would load off your mind from problems w/o necessarily winning on music shows. They stayed on track with that goal until they transferred in LOEN. Apparently not just the number of members changed but also their music. I don’t know if it’s LOEN or SH’s decision but apparently their goals are different now as compared to before. MC and Pray is definitely not a bright song but who cares as long as it increased their popularity. In one of their interviews they said they are not afraid of changes and would keep showing their fans their transformation in the future. Looks like they are taking the same road as BEG now there’s nothing wrong with that especially with a good production team and BEG themselves as their support system they could pull it off. They are definitely learning but I hope not to the point that they would just want to continuously live on BEG’s shadows. As mcroth have said “I would rather SH take that uniqueness of theirs an venture into something else.” They could start it out with LOEN/SH captilizing more on SH the 5 member co-ed group Instead of SH the four member girl group. If you just saw SH w/ MC & Pray you’ll think they are a four member girl group that’s like BEG w/c is actually not because they have a guy member Janghyun. A lot of people were thinking they were a girl group until the grasshopper song came. (and they could have given Janghyun more lines its like SH girls ft. Janghyun). That could be the start on how they could differentiate themselves from BEG and make a music that would be known to be unique on their own.

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