SECRET's Ji Eun is back with another unique concept as she releases her 2nd mini album 'Bobby Doll.' While many feel that her comeback was well received, I feel this solo act was more of a miss than a hit.
I've always been a fan of SECRET as a group rather than individual members, and Ji Eun wowed many, including myself, with her previous hit "Twenty Five." Now she simply flushed it down the drain with "Bobby Doll." The song isn't absolutely terrible, but there is nothing that stands out or makes the song shine. The mispronunciation of "Barbie Doll" (if that was the intention) sounds awkward as "Bobby Doll," and the whole Joker theme has been done a gazillion times, especially for the past few years in Korea. We get it already.
Visually, Ji Eun looks as stunning as ever, but it will take more than pretty idol looks to make anyone enjoy this album. The whole "peeping room" theme, similar to the one in hit anime 'Chobits,' isn't that thrilling, and the incorporated fan dance is bland. The most appealing portions definitely involve her outfits as they are well made, stylish, and suit her concept. However, the MV desperately needs something more. See what's missing for yourself in the MV below.
As for the instrumentals, the song holds a good tune. The repetitive "La La La" intro and refrain make for a good listen, and the mix of instruments offer a nice Latin-influenced sound. Sadly, the lyrics completely destroy a well-tuned track. This "I'm your Barbie girl" wannabe was beyond cliche with lines like, "I'm your Bobby Doll, Welcome to my Bobby World" and "Play with me." It is a low-grade version of Stellar's message in "Marionette," and frankly, Ji Eun deserves better. Her charisma stands out in "Twenty Five," but dies through mediocre tracks and MVs like "Bobby Doll."
After putting "Bobby Doll" behind us, the rest of the album becomes Ji Eun's saving grace. Track one, "I Wanna Fall In Love," deserves more of a spotlight in comparison to "Bobby Doll." The piano melody is rough and is accompanied by a sweet, synthesized R&B tune. It seems to match her vocals more, as well. Ji Eun's high notes are executed nicely, and a repetitious "I wanna Love, I wanna Love" chorus makes "I Wanna Fall In Love" more infectious without trying too hard.
"Off The Record" is another track that could have been promoted instead. The track continues utilizing her steady vocals and pairs up nicely with a strong piano melody with an even stronger emphasis on the guitar. The plain instrumental suits the ballad and brings out her gentle voice in each bridge.
The lyrics also seem more meaningful as Ji Eun reveals her pains of wanting the same love she has today again in the near future. Her touching words offer more sensational feelings than the off-putting words of "Bobby Doll." In case you are wondering, yes, this dislike for "Boddy Doll" is never ending.
After "Off The Record," Ji Eun continues the steady string of R&B influenced ballads with "Oasis." Despite the mispronunciation (yet again) of oasis, she offers a sound that faintly resembles that of BoA. Sadly, Ji Eun is still relying heavily on a repetitious chorus in order to create an addiction to her music. The instrumentals have a higher use of electric guitars over generic strumming and echoing, synthesized sounds to top off her slightly sultry singing. However, "Oasis" still comes off a little bland and unchanged alongside her previous tracks.
The most favorable track on the album hands down, "Alright" is uplifting and pleasant on the ears. It offers something refreshing as it strays away from her mostly melancholic tracks. Her vocals are more clear and enthused. The instrumental is given some time to shine as well with the stylish sounds. From lively snapping to shimmering sounds, the instrumental is a total happy virus. The only downside are the tame lyrics such as "I'll happily love you" and, as expected, repeating "It's Alright" over and over again.
Overall, Ji Eun's album "Bobby Doll" doesn't seem well made. Most tracks are easily forgettable. Before, her flair was duly noted in songs from both SECRET and her solo debut. Now, she is like a candle slowly burning out. Ji Eun has a lot of potential and can easily win over fans with another sound because this "Bobby Doll" business needs to be left on the clearance rack.