Lim Jeong-hee is back with her new single “Luv Is.” Her last big release was “Golden Lady” back in May of 2011. It’s been a long while. Let’s see how Lim still fares.

The music video is a standard love story fare complete with a quintessential piano scene. The scenes change between flashbacks of Seulong of 2AM and actress Kim Da-ye being happy in the past and the present where they’ve broken up but still long for each other, or rather the happy moments they shared. Seulong tries to work things out by calling her and later they interact face to face, but both times culminate in Da-ye standing by that they should stay separated. The scenes with the two chairs suggests that the reason for the break-up was probably Seulong not being there for Da-ye.

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The props in the music video were dated and the sets having a rustic modern finish. If really looked at, it’s nice to see, but the lack of color washed it out and dulled everything. Color in specific props or places would’ve been a good touch, as proven by the red background that was used for one of Lim’s shot. The set with the wall of old pictures seen where Seulong and the actress are sitting side by side is the most interesting. It was a good visual and I wish that the same creativity was used in the rest of the music video as there wasn’t much story. It was well shot, though.

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Like the music video, the song itself is standard R&B ballad fare. The melody is despondent and longing. This isn’t one of those ballads where the melody or instrumentals carries the song. It’s the artist. Lim Jeong-hee is more than an accomplished vocalist, and her voice makes the song much better. Though a good portion of it had to do with her reaching the climax of the song. At the pinnacle, Lim has some sweet notes.

It was lucky that Lim had a chance to shine in the song or she would’ve been upstaged by guest rappers Baechigi. Baechigi were excellent additions as their raps acted as needed bridges in the song. They made the song much more interesting by quickening the pace and adding another layer with their deeper voices.

20130810_seoulbeats_lim_jeongheeEverything looked sophisticated, especially Lim. She looked great, and I disliked how she didn’t actively take part in the story. Her looks aren’t a problem and I doubt she’d be incompetent in the role. She has acted in musicals before. The role didn’t require much and it wasn’t like the actress used was anything amazing. Serviceable would be an apt descriptor for the actress. If there were a deeper or more complicated story, then it would have been more than understandable for actors to take the role. But for something as simple as this, I would expect Lim to try her hand in the acting. I’m being picky, but it would’ve been nice to see her more engaged in her music.

There’s a bigger problem though. While checking out some of her other stuff, I found the gem of her debut track “Music Is My Life.” It was a strong R&B song with great vocals. So, what is Lim Jeong-hee singing ballads for? She rocked “Music Is My Life.” It seemed she experienced something similar to Zhang Liyin — possessing a voice made for R&B and having to sing ballads. A complete shame to be honest.

Seoulbeats has written before of Lim’s suffering musicality. Her company Big Hit doesn’t seem to know what to do with her. There’s nothing wrong with ballads, but Lim would be much more suited to songs such as “Music Is My Life” or any other vocal-powered song. Lim does well with “Luv Is,” nonetheless. Her voice has a few layers to it and offers a more interesting take on such songs. But her voice is still wasted singing ballads, something she has ended up singing for a while now.

“Luv Is” is a good ballad and MV with great vocals by Lim and Baechigi, but to know that Lim could do so much more is plain depressing.

Overall Rating: 3.6/5

(Big Hit Entertainment, YouTube [1][2])