Saturday, April 13, 2013

[Album Review] Lee Hi 'First Love'

The worst thing you can do after taking a listen to Lee Hi's debut album is call the arrangements lazy. But what you will or might have already done so is call many of the songs boring. On one hand, you are diminishing the foundational basis of the composition while the other is simply a reflection of your musical preferences, albeit limited in range. The sounds of each track in the album musically collide to show the colors of its many respective composers (Choice37, Teddy, Lydia Paek, Tablo, Realmeee, etc). It's fair to say that there hasn't been an album such as this one where one can abstractly decipher each composer's bread and butter by listening to each one's interpretation of the R&B & Soul genre. As it is with interpretations, there are some clear flaws but the production is far and above anything we've heard in awhile that it overcomes those flaws and exceeds normal listen-ability while going beyond its specific genre without diminishing it. Lee Hi sounds better than ever and the soft methodical tones tug at your heart. The sounds of the album are much more subdued than but still manage to make a strong statement.

Overall, all the tracks complement each other highly and go well with each other. The only regrettable aspect of the album is that the intro and the two title tracks, in terms of grandeur, overshadow many of the other compositions that are much truer to the modern blues form. It's truly a shame they won't be appreciated as much. The heart & soul of the album exists in its true form in the other tracks. There is widespread depth in the arrangements and Lee Hi's vocals that make the album a standout. What's highly admirable is the meticulous restraint the YG producers show in keeping the excess elements of pop mainly out of this album. That's not saying that everything's perfect but for an album in a saturated field, it comes pretty close.