LEE HI - 'SEOULITE'
1. My Star
3. Passing By
4. Up All Night (feat. Tablo)
5. Video (feat. Bobby of iKON)
6. Missing You
Lee Hi is back in the spotlight with the second half to 'Seoulite,' her first full album!
A Teddy song, this time he's been tapped for Lee Hi. It's a bluesy-jazzy piece, complete with blasting horns and thrumming bass. Lee Hi's pipes get a workout here, her dulcet tones bold and brassy like the song. "My Star" is retro, classy and completely catchy. The message of the song is made obvious in the lyrics:
You are my star
You are my sun
You are my moon
I feel like I'm on top of the world
Starts out quieter, with a soothing string section, until settling into a steady mid-tempo jazz beat. It's got a really good swing to it. This tune was written by Tablo, who also had a hand in the musical arrangement. I didn't even know he had an interest in jazz. He really captures the feel here. In the song, she's broken up with a guy, and 'blue' because she can't forget him.
Written and co-composed by Lee Hi herself, this ballad has tons of guitar influence. I like what she does with her voice here, naturally pitching it higher to serve the song. The overall effect is nice and soothing. She also avoids the pitfalls of the traditional ballad structure; they avoid drowning her out, and instead there's a pause to allow her vocals free reign. She shows herself to be quite the lyricist, the tune rife with imagery like "The sound of the swaying wind / Shakes my heart and passes me by," and continuing the theme, "Like being cut by a sharp knife, You pass me by." The song is about growing apart.
"Up All Night" (feat. Tablo)
This track reminds me a lot of Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind." Another tune by Tablo, Lee Hi puts her superior vocal skills to work, as her voice goes higher and softer in parts. Tablo has a part that counters her sad ruminations with a frustrated tone. The time changes are well done, switching from pensive tempo to a faster paced piano riff. They're up all night because they can't stop thinking about each other.
"Video" (feat. Bobby of iKON)
A little more uptempo than the other tracks on the album, this tune is still a smooth groove. Lee Hi manages a more poppy tone here, including some vocal fry and higher-pitched Mariah Carey-style squeals. Bobby comes in with a rap drenched in defiance, but ends up admitting to her he'll just wait. The song is about the girl telling the guy to buzz off.
The third Tablo tune on this disc, "Missing You" has this insistent piano line with some nice keyboard work deviating some from the main melody. She's joined by a string section and organ for a sonic cornucopia. Again the vocals are awesome, ranging from a sweet purr to the wafty vocal pyrotechnics that a ballad usually requires. Three guesses as to what the song is about.
It looks as if Tablo had a lot to do with this album, but that's not a bad thing. The great thing is that the music is felt more than heard, the stuff of mood to transport you away. I listen to this album and I think of secluded nightspots, a singer thrown into sharp relief by stagelights, and the lighted nightscapes of Seoul. It's a very wistful piece, and while the genre is nothing new, she's embraced it and made it her own. Lee Hi is obviously incredibly talented, and, judging by album sales, she's not going unnoticed. She deserves much love.
The MV is a fun romp, much of it echoing the early days of the cinema with special effects ripped straight from 1902. There's some fun noir stuff in the beginning, but after that the scenes jump back about 30 years. It's definitely made to look old, black and white, the vertical lines, and cheesy props, with too obvious wires supporting any floating objects.
Rapper One joins Lee Hi in the MV, and it looks like a lot of fun to make. There's a lot of nods to the really old black and whites, from before luminaries like Clark Gable were a household name. And there's also a wedding scene in there that's just hilarious, from her swagger as a bride to the look on his face when they kiss. The movie theme maps well to the idea of "my star."
Videos like this are highly enjoyable, especially when you give it more schticks than just the comedy thing. Watching an MV is something that's supposed to keep your interest. Obviously, it sells the song and the artist, but by the same token, they're meant to entertain. This MV does exactly that.