JESSICA – WITH LOVE, J
1. Fly (Feat. Fabolous)
2. Big Mini World
3. Falling Crazy In Love
4. Love Me The Same
5. Golden Sky
6. Dear Diary
Regardless of whose story you believe, one fact remains: Jessica Jung is no longer a member of Girls' Generation. Not one to remain idle, she stepped back from music and focused on launching her fashion brand. Less than two years after the incident that rocked the K-pop world, she's back -- 'With Love, J.' The EP consists of six songs, most of which she co-wrote. There's also an English-language version of this album as well.
The title track is "Fly," a mid-tempo pop tune, and Jessica's voice sounds gorgeous here. I honestly thinks she sounds a lot like BoA on the track. I like how majestic it all sounds, with a galloping beat and expansive synths. Fabolous' part is pretty well done too. Thankfully, they didn't insert any additional hip hop elements, and that's why the whole thing works.
Jessica's trademark soprano is never more evident than on "Big Mini World," a fluffy pop number on the album. And her voice never leaves that register, but is always in control. My particular favorites come along later on... "Dear Diary" is a sweetly sung, fluffy piece with a bit of a smooth jazz influence that is perfect to relax to, and "Golden Sky" is exactly what I mean when I talk about ballads being done right -- simple, elegant, a song to lose yourself in. Many of the tracks on this album are straight-ahead pop songs, light, airy and midtempo.
The problem I have with this album is it's a bit too serious. "Fly," while it has a good beat, is too restrained. It's a good jam, but it's not anything particularly amazing. And that's the problem with the rest of the songs. They're safe. There's no attempt at a real hardcore club banger, nor are there playful songs where she can take a step back and laugh. While a return to the music business is no joking matter, I think it would have been a bit better to have more of her personality come through.
And again we have another video that's more symbolic than literal. There's a story arc where Jessica gets a postcard showing a mountain. She orders some winter clothing, apparently intending to go. Sooner than later, she's dancing in front of a climbing wall fashion to look like a mountain. At the end there's a snow globe containing an image of the mountain on the postcard. But we're treated to other images that indicate freedom.
The video is certainly engaging, I can't lie. I wasn't bored watching it, largely because I wanted to know what was around the corner. There were images and ideas that seemed half-explored at first until you saw the progression later in the video. And some of the images were inspiring, like Jessica striding along, wheeling a suitcase behind her.
I enjoy videos like this -- while it's difficult to describe exactly what's going on, it's fun to figure it out. This one, I think, had to do with exactly what the song is about: being free and doing things your own way. Which I think is largely the point of the comeback, not how well she did it, but the fact that she did at all. To be honest, I'm just glad she's back.