Tuesday, October 30, 2012

[Review] [Single] Lee Hi '' and Debut Single All-Kill

YG Entertainment

Making it look as easy as 1,2,3,...4, another little digital monster has stepped out of YG and made a phenomenal splash. Released on the 29th of October, Lee Hi's quickly swept the online music charts and earned an all-kill in the process. Known for her soulful and deep voice as a contestant and runner-up to Park Ji Min on SBS's 'K-pop Star', Lee Hayi had amassed much popularity even prior to signing with YG due to her care-free attitude and singular personality display on the show. Now that Lee Hi has finally debuted with a single and conquered the digital charts, does it foreshadow greater things to come from YG? Particularly, did the song raise your anticipation on the soon to debut vocal group SuPearls? deviates just enough in its effects and little techniques that it succeeds in establishing its own unique charm, something rare in K-pop. In the process, the track brings something significant and much-needed to the music scene, just as 2NE1's I Love You did and does it even better to some extent of mixing and matching something familiar with something retro. 

[SINGLE] (원,투,쓰리,포)  Lee Hi (이하이)
Release Date : 29.10.2012 
Purchase the track on Itunes here 

YG Entertainment

Yang Hyun Suk and YG overall deserve a lot of credit for going all in for Lee Hi and giving her the best materials to work with. Arranged by the accomplished YG producer Choice37 and composed along with the promising Lydia Paek with lyrics provided by Masta Wu, the quality of the track and its arrangement radiate expertise. This track of the Retro Soul genre that prevailed in 1960's Motown and in the modern times popularized by the late great but often troubled singer Amy Winehouse. Taking full advantage of her 'unexpected' charm and mature voice, the track captivates right from the get-go due to its addicting drum beats and the soulful voice of Lee Hi. There is not an ounce of wasted rhythm here. What sets the song apart is its excellent techniques and unique harmonies.

It is almost unfathomable thinking that it is a 16 year old belting out those soulful verses in a loving innocent manner. The track captivates right from the start with "I said 1 2 3" and retains its unique quality till the end. Lee Hi's vocal range and techniques are off the charts and this track does her much service due to its arrangement. Due to Lydia Paek's involvement, certain verses of the song radiate stark similarities to the beginning verses of I Love You and exudes that slow confidence and smooth technique. Part of reason the track has been doing so well on the charts is not because the Idol Reign is ending as Yang Hyun Suk strangely put but due to the competition being much more open than in the past to singers such as Lee Hi.

YG Entertainment

The harmonizing verses and the stunning part where Lee Hi sings with no background music are the shining moments and is what puts the track over the top as one of the best debut single by a solo artist. It succeeds due to its addicting tunes and techniques and because of those, makes it more memorable if not significantly better than Lee Hi's fellow K-pop Star alum Baek Ah Yeon's Sad Song and Park Ji Min's (15&) I Dream. 

All three releases were extremely strong and successful and that is a positive development for their career since all are extremely talented and young. Due to the track being so enthralled in its style and sass, it could have failed miserably had those relieving moments not been put in. Those moments are what make the track special. Other than that, there are no major flaws in the track.

    is completely different in both form and the vocal technique from Epik High's It's Cold featuring Lee Hi. In It's Cold, we hear a more vulnerable yet confident Lee Hi with her chilling falsetto and shows off her soulful and strong voice. Listen to It's Cold below and watch the fitting karaoke video produced by YG.

  • A soulful and spunky track that radiates an innocent charm
  • Collaborative effort of Choice37, Lydia Paek and Masta Wu
  • Addicting beats and rythm that show Lee Hi's amazingly mature vocals
  • Begins the journey perfectly for Supearls' debut
  • Massive anticipation build-up for Lee Hi's upcoming solo album
Rating - 4.5/5.0
Updated Info: Lee Hi has managed to win #1 on the November 8 broadcast of Mnet's 'M! Countdown'. Since then, she has managed to become the first and only rookie this year to win the triple crown. Certainly a worthy accomplishment considering this was only her first week of debut. Congrats to her. Check out the videos below recapping her win and don't miss out on her improved debut performance as well.

Before diving into everyone's consensus of Lee Hi's awkwardness in the music video, it is certainly worth analyzing her personality along with how she carried herself on K-pop Star and how people around her perceived her. In her audition on K-pop Star in front of BoA, JYP and YG, she literally rolls her eyes after introducing herself and before her performance. Eyes rolling begins at 0:44 and the reactions from BoA and YG say it all. 

Even though it doesn't look as though Lee Hayi meant to be disrespectful in front of powerful seniors within the industry, it shows her questionable facial expressions and her unique appeal. Her awkward dance shows how she has a lot learn in terms of free movements but it certainly doesn't mean she can't learn. Indeed, Practice makes less imperfect. Watch her dance performance of I Am The Best beginning at 2:26 and it is evident she has much too learn but in terms of vocal skill sets, she is mature beyond her years and that is made YG sign her up in the end.

Watching the videos makes it impossible for one to be critical of her for her often blank expressions given her appeal, innocence in awkwardness and vulnerable personality. Watch the hilarious video below of Lee Hi receiving training from T.O.P on K-pop Star and how hilarity and awkwardness ensue. Begins from 2:00 minute mark. Don't miss the performance beginning at 4:20.

The music video itself in its feel and concept is fitting for the song and that boats well for the director whose work includes Big Bang's 'BLUE', 'MONSTER' and 2NE1's 'LONELY'. The criticisms of awkwardness that Lee Hi radiates in the video are much deserved but calling her out for her body proportions should not be justified. The director certainly could have instructed her better on her expressions and movements but no use dwelling over it. In the future, YG should balance her awkwardness better with her appeal and not dwell too much on showing her difference. 

The video strangely featured some misspelled words (Haker instead of Hacker at 0:50, Summer Shorst instead of Summer Shorts at 3:00) and that is surprising since it is a YG production but not something outrageous. The settings were lavish in the video but it was odd seeing female dancers dressed in male clothes dancing around Lee Hi since it isn't clear what they were going for and looked more as though they had a shortage of male dancers or female clothes.

YG Entertainment

  • Lavish video that radiated too much awkwardness
  • Collaborative effort of YG and Monster director
  • Improvements to make for the future for Lee Hi
  • Begins the journey toward fame for Lee Hi
Rating - 3.6/5.0
Achieving an all-kill by simultaneously reaching #1 on all prominent major music charts such as Melon, Daum, Mnet, Naver, Bugs, Soribada, Cyworld and Olleh is certainly no small feat for singer and it's more amazing considering the fact that Lee Hi is just a rookie. It makes it surprising if we consider how 'K-pop Star' gave the opportunity for Lee Hi to gather a loyal fan base and YG's reputation for producing quality tracks for its artists and their digital stronghold in Korea. On Melon, the track has managed to hit roofs which shows the dominance of the track and the music video surpassed the 1 Million mark through its first day on YouTube. The screenshots below show the track #1 across the board.




1,2,3,4 hitting roofs on Melon





Hats off to YG for signing up Lee Hi and seeing potential in her raw talent. This year is certainly shaping up to be a monster year for YG as a whole that begun with Se7en, extending with the perfect Alive release by Big Bang, 2NE1's I Love You, G-Dragon's One of a Kind, Epik High's 99 with the cherry on top being the global phenomenon of PSY's Gangnam Style. After Lee Hi, 2NE1 is expected to release a full-length album and Taeyang will be making a solo comeback. Supearls are expected to debut by the end of the year and 2013 will begin with a bang with the debut of YG's New Girl Group. It is certainly looking exciting for music lovers everywhere.

*Note: This post has been updated to include Lee Hi's debut performance and win in Mnet's M! Countdown. On another sad note, YG has recently announced the contract nullification of the SuPearls members except for Lee Hi and has let them go without any conditions. I am very disappointed but wish nothing but the best for the talented Lee Michelle, Lee Jung Mi and Lee Seung Joo.  

[Info Souce: YG Family Site]
[Photo Souce: YG-Life Blog (1) (2), YG Family]
[Video Source: official lee hi, kpopstar, official epik high, m! countdown @ YouTube] 

No comments:

Post a Comment