written by: drowningn00b
Artist and Single: Song Ji Eun of SECRET – “False Hope”
Release Date: September 30, 2013
The sun is setting earlier, the leaves are falling, and the sweaters are coming out. Another seasonal change is upon us, which means the summer’s electronic party is over. As it always happens, K-Pop’s mood darkens and gets sadder, but still dances along, something Song Ji Eun’s “False Hope” makes very clear. The three-track set is a showcase of Secret’s young singer, resting on her shoulders to succeed — and it does.
The title track “False Hope” is an R&B-pop ballad, similar to the Babyface-produced tracks produced in the 90s, with his trademark acoustic guitar-led compositions. Originality is not this EP’s calling card, musically speaking; this, in turn, forces all your attention on Song Ji Eun, who delivers a wonderful track. She has a nice register, especially at the lower end, which hooks you in right at the beginning. Its commonplace for solo releases to explore a singer’s full range, and the title track shows what the public is missing out on when she’s singing with her flagship troupe. Song Ji Eun can be flat at times, corrected with vocal layering, but she has a strong showing on this ballad.
The B-sides, the funky “Vintage” and the disco tune “Date Mate”, follow the R&B ballad/dance track template, seen in Seo In Young’s ‘Forever Young’ EP. It helps to place “False Hope” apart from Ji Eun’s work in Secret, but it is a template followed over and over this year, and one I’m tired of seeing. It isn’t her fault, though, as she does sing well enough on both. Ji Eun’s Michael Jackson-inspired phrasing on “Vintage” is a clever quirk, but she shines on “Date Mate”, picking up the pace while maintaining a relaxed delivery throughout. Though a different genre would have challenged Song Ji Eun to stretch her voice, she does hold her own, making “False Hope” the EP a pleasure to listen to.
Song Ji Eun’s first EP reveals some of what she can do as a singer. Her nasal quality is unique to her, which helps her stand out from the rest, while still sweet enough for pop music at large. While she won’t match Sistar’s Soyu or Seo In Young, Ji Eun shows potential on her own, from the gorgeously mournful “False Hope” and the dance B-sides “Vintage” and “Date Mate”. It isn’t a surprise why Secret is still going strong with Song Ji Eun at the helm, but “False Hope” is a platform for the young singer to develop as a solo act.
Singles of any kind are not rated with the same rating system used for mini and full albums.