While the landscape of Korean entertainment can be vast and wondrous, it’s often the little things that make us fall in love, inspire awe, evoke secondhand embarrassment, or sometimes…break our hearts. In this segment, we ask our writers: Among the many things vying for your attention this week, what won and made your heart beat?
[Music] Sunmi’s Warning and 1/6
I’ve had Sunmi’s last EP, Warning, on repeat since it was released in September 2018. It’s a brilliant capsule of glamorously sinister pop perfection. Sunmi has filled the intervening years with a bevy of excellent singles, including maybe my favorite Sunmi tune ever, “Noir”. But I was beyond excited to hear she was releasing a multi-track album this month.
1/6 doesn’t disappoint. Where Warning provided the ultimate night-time playlist, 1/6 is full of light. If I was feeling nit-picky, I might call out a few sloppy musical details in title track “You Can’t Sit With Us”. But I’m such a sucker for 80’s synths (and Sunmi!), there is literally no way this song could fail to enchant me. Still, I’d argue that the highlights of 1/6 are its b-sides. The album has this amazingly laissez faire attitude, each track full of effortless coolness. My personal favorite b-sides are “Sunny” and “1/6”, but I also love the torturously (that’s a compliment) slow-build to the bursting chorus of “Narcissism” and the rock instrumentation of “Borderline”.
Basically, the whole album is fantastic. It’s always scary for me going into a release with high expectations. I’m scared to be let down. But 1/6 has gone and exceeded the hype I had for it which is unbelievably satisfying. Guess I know what the soundtrack for the rest of my summer will be!
[Music] Dasom and Hyolyn’s “Summer or Summer”, Sunmi’s “Narcissism” and “Borderline”
I am echoing Siena’s shoutout of Sunmi’s “Narcissism” and “Borderline”. While a portion of 1/6 left me underwhelmed in terms of its musicality, the two aforementioned tracks are fantastic and have been added to my playlist of favorite b-sides from this year. The alternative rock influence in “Borderline” has helped Sunmi elevate her lyrics and create perhaps one of the most emotive and moving tracks of her discography. “Narcissism”, with its electro-pop beats, builds up to a satisfying explosion of beats and vocals during its chorus.
My main shoutout for this week, however, is “Summer or Summer” by Dasom and Hyolyn. Sistar have always been called the queens of summer, and this reunion track by the two of them explains exactly why. It’s difficult to have standout summer tracks when the entire industry is out to create the jam of the season, but the duo have done it. “Summer or Summer” is a perfect pop production of an ideal summer track — complete with bright vocals, addictive synth beats, and a musical energy that builds up throughout without flaws. Summer only has a month to go, but I’ll be listening to this song well past the season.