August’21 K-Releases

From an actor to a graphic designer, everyone’s turning their head to music. Here are three songs by emerging artists to look out for in the scene.

A retro sophistication

I had a moment of familiarity when I first heard MOONSUN’s music. Amongst the funky electronic is a familiar nostalgia of the 80s retro. But what makes it contemporary is the amalgamation of dreamy synth and her haunting vocals engulfed with a relaxed attitude that resembles an R&B soul. It could be her role as a graphic designer seeping into distorted multilayered sounds that sometimes feel like a DJ mix.

In her first EP, her lyrics touch deep into anxiety and intimacy. The protagonist in her title song “TOM:貪” shares her feelings — rather desire — to be a person, infused with jealousy as indicated by the hanja. What I love about this song is the sense of oozing confidence through her sensuous pronunciation. It feels like a song for a night bar in a city — a retro sophistication.

Song: Apple Music / Spotify

푹 빠져들게 했었지
슬금슬금 훅 타고 올랐으니
우 너는 그런 편이지
너무 간단해 너 같은 애

꾹 눌러버리곤 했지
꽤나 누누이 여러 해 데었으니
우 나는 귀한 편이지
너무 가뿐해 너 같은 애 곤란해

가볍고 예뻐서 놓을 수가 없지
어쩔 수 없지

WOO 헤어 나올 수 없지
WOO 제법 치명적이지
WOO 분명 매력적이지

you made me fall deep into you
slowly climbing onto me
woo you’re like that
people like you are too simple

I pushed you out
because I was burnt too many times
woo i’m pretty precious
people like you are too easy, it’s complicated

i can’t let you go because you’re light and pretty
there’s nothing i can do

WOO i can’t get out of it
WOO you’re pretty fatal
WOO you’re definitely charming
it’s thrilling

A synth-rock vibrancy
서울매직클럽 Seoul Magic Club – “케세라세라 Que Sera Sera”

Seoul Magic Club’s debut album [희망 Hope], which was released this January, is filled with piano melodies and ambient moods. If I had discovered this three-member band with this album, I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention because none of the songs left me an impression and feel short of excitement or emotions.

“Que Sera Sera”, released six months after, feels different. It’s not entirely new, but a rendition played out through a classic rock vibrancy. The harmony of Shin Soo-hwan’s synth and Nabin’s drum beats with SiAN’s dreamy vocals create a soundscape that feels like an open meadow. In the song description, they have just one word, “Alohomora” — the unlocking charm in Harry Potter — which refers to an unlocking of hope within ourselves as expressed in the lyrics, but I think we could add another meaning of an unlocking of a musical potential (although the English lyrics do need some work).

Song: Apple Music / Spotify

Now I know
what the impossible is
Girl if you jump off that high
it’s a crash crash then will be
The sunlight will steal your eyes
This is not a happy ending
Know it’s going to be worse
Que Sera Sera

An easy-listening rhythm
이동휘 Lee Dong-hwi – “네가 아는 너 Keep your head up

I was surprised. First, that this was actor Lee Dong-hwi. Second, that Lee Dong-hwi can sing very well. Many people will know him from Reply 1988, or as a member of MSG Wannabe on the TV show “How Do You Play?” (or maybe now as the boyfriend of Jung Ho-yeon). All those singing gigs have come together for the release of his first single.

It’s a witty unraveling of his fashion philosophy and lifestyle, also played out in the music video (that he helped ideate) where he showcases his own clothes and accessories. The sound itself is nothing new or flashy, but an easy-listening rhythmical pop, which does its job to show the strength of his vocal skills and portrays the energy of Lee Dong-hwi’s character that we know well from the screen.

Album: Apple Music / Spotify

살짝 얹은 페도라
거울 속 난
투머치 겠지만

다들 유행만 말해
내 눈엔 딱인데

사실 말이야 별거 없어
특별한 스타일 딱히 그런
마음대로 입은 거야

느려진 모카포트를 마셔볼래
더 느려진 턴테이블을 돌려볼래
느낌대로 걸어볼래
마음이 부르는 대로

lightly placed fedora
even if in the mirror
i may look too dressed up

everyone talks about trends
they say it’s out of style
it looks perfect in my eyes

there’s actually nothing to it
there’s no special style or anything
you just wear whatever you want

i want to drink from the slow moka pot
i want to turn the slower turn table
i want to walk however i want
however my heart wants to