Yeseo is a self-produced artist that just began hitting the Korean music underground in the last few years. Her music is a dark but inviting mix of breathy, F.K.A. Twigs-like R&B and brooding ambient electronic sounds. Meeting listeners at the intersection between "chilled out" and classically sexy, Yeseo stands out during a time when Korean female soloists are waning in terms of impact. With her second EP this year, Yeseo distinguished herself as a top-shelf musician worthy of any Korean music fan's attention.
The "Million Things" EP is a follow-up to February's "No City For Love," and it already shows that Yeseo has the initiative to grow with each release. It starts off with the track "Silhouette," with Yeseo using a reserved melisma throughout the song. It's unlike most R&B out in Korea, and the fact that Yeseo isn't a technically perfect singer (or modified to sound like one) actually lends a human quality to the music.
"Silhouette" is the title track from the EP, so naturally it received a video treatment. It's far from your standard K-Pop video fare and emphasizes relatively still shots and abstract imagery rather than flashy elements. Yeseo is seen throughout the video and she looks gorgeous, though it seems that ultimately the focus is her music. No complaints here, though such an approach might make it slightly harder to reel people in.
The EP continues with two back to back exercises in lush production, "Million Things" and "Lazy Mary Jane." The former is dreamy electronic, with swelling synth chords and layered harmonies. The latter is a fun and funk-influenced song, featuring guitar and horns juxtaposed against what could best be described as chillwave beats.
As the record moves on with "Last Touch," it becomes clear that Yeseo is quite good at production. Although the song is perhaps the most mainstream on the EP so far, with trap drums and a Cashmere Cat-style breakdown, in the context of the Korean music scene it's actually quite fresh. It segues into the upbeat house track "Rude," which is heavy on the piano and packs a Disclosure-like bassline into the chorus. It's something of the caliber that LDN Noise would produce for SM Entertainment, except it has an authenticity and raw quality that makes it stand out without the use of glamorous trained idols.
"My Youth" is another upbeat song driven by a looped guitar riff, and it ushers the EP towards a close. Rather than dialing the volume and strength of the drums and bass up for the chorus, the song subverts expectations by carrying on with a slow but steady build. Yeseo crafted a track that was at once all her own, while also recalling the recent Charli XCX and PC Music songs' pop energy. EP closer "Deeper Than Love" is emotionally resonant, something of a power-pop ballad. It makes a perfect ending, with its pre-chorus using a tambourine to turn one of the most emotional songs on the album into one of the most fun.
Yeseo is without a doubt an artist to watch. Her EP is one of the most exciting and forward-thinking pop records to come out of Korea in a while and proves that you don't have to necessarily operate within the standard K-Pop mold to create compelling pop music in Korea. With songs that recall the pure bubble gum euphoria of Carly Rae Jepsen, Yeseo is sure to pop up on playlists of music lovers all over the world as her career has time to progress. The full EP is available for streaming on her official YouTube channel, so don't miss out - you'll look ahead of the curb in a few years when she's producing and featuring for the greats of the genre.
MV SCORE: 8
ALBUM SCORE: 9.7