written by: drowningn00b
Artist and Album: Seo In Young – ‘Forever Young’
Release Date: May 15, 2013
Let’s be honest: when you heard Seo In Young‘s last solo project, ‘Brand New Elly’, did “serious artist” ever come to mind? No? Didn’t think so. As the key member to Jewelry, In Young had everything going for her; the look, the personality and an aura that screamed “look at me”, but did I listen to her for more than five minutes? Never, to the point where my hipster hairs on my arms bristled when she announced she was leaving the group to pursue a vocal career to be taken seriously.
For her coming out party, are the naysayers rejoicing in their preemptive strikes, or are they scurrying to their dark corners to grovel?
The lead single, “헤어지자 (Let’s Break Up)”, is a tune of impressive heights. A soapbox to prove her talking points, the single is exactly what she wanted: a clean and well-executed ballad with her voice carrying the weight. The track progresses slowly, until her band hits full blast, skips the second chorus and has two climactic moments. It’s a clever trick that helps Seo In Young go straight to the point, which are the long and high notes she hits near the end. It’s a great showcase of her higher register, while the R&B-pop ballad “Letter”, highlights her quieter, no less impressive side. Seo In Young put in the work, and these two numbers are good examples of it.
Serious in nature, the ballads counterbalance the energy in the remaining songs. Seo In Young is first and foremost an idol, and as such, caters to the larger K-Pop audience. Thankfully, she isn’t going with the trends of right now, opting for a neo-disco sound she began with “Let’s Dance”, a fun and bright ditty that closes the EP. It doesn’t bring the best in her, but it’s a needed breath of levity from the moodiness that precedes it. The successor, “I Want You Back”, is the same, with less clutter. There are hand claps for accents and the overall composition is cleaner and streamlined, easing you into her Kush-produced summer track “Anymore”. (Still a great track after all this time). After all her talk of high-brow pop artistry, it’s good to see she has a sense of humor about herself, a necessary thing in K-Pop.
When Seo In Young announced her plans, I was skeptical. As I write this, I’m more than happy to eat my words, because ‘Forever Young’ accomplishes that goal amicably.
From the dance tracks to the ballads, Ms. Seo In Young’s voice and talent have improved leaps and bounds. She’s exploring what it means to be her better artistic self and, while not perfect, this EP is a nice jumping off point. Out on her own and with a great foundation to build on, Seo In Young is well placed to get better with time.
|I Want You Back||
|Let’s Break Up||
0 – could do without
0.5 – mediocre/filler
0.75 – pretty good/grew on me
1 – liked immediately
Points to stars conversion: [(4.75/6) x 5] + 0.25*
*there is a 0.25 bonus for every album. The logic is that, if every song were “pretty good”, it’s a 4-star album.