Written By: Michelle Doering
Originality: (5 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (5 / 5) Lyrics: (5 / 5) Production: (5 / 5) Average: (5 / 5)
Are you looking for a Korean Adele who just exudes sass, soul, and endless star quality?
Well then, LEE HI is the artist for you! At only 20 years old this girl is a powerhouse, flawlessly executing heart-wrenching ballads just as easily as upbeat disco pop.
Her second studio album SEOULITE, released in two parts entitled Night and Day, has a little something for everyone. There are excellent collaborations with rappers such as Bobby from Ikon and Mino from Winner. There are transportative and cinematic songs with swelling melodies and melancholic tones á la Celine Dion. There’s feel good dance numbers. There are hints of disco and jazz and tons of really brilliant R&B. Each song is unique, but every single one of them makes me want to sing along despite not knowing a single word of Korean.
Picking a favorite here is nearly impossible, but if I had to do so, I would go with “My Star.” This song is swinging, hip, and so full of personality; definitely invoking motown music of a bygone era. It’s the kind of song that just makes you feel good. Heck, she even shouts the words, “I feel good” all throughout the chorus. Well, the feeling is mutual girl. Not to mention, those runs are just flawless.
I also really dig the song “Official” featuring Incredivle. The song itself is nothing special, just a simple R&B track with lyrics landing just behind a strong and steady beat, but she just sounds so good here! It’s a song that works on many different levels and I love that there are so many English bits to sing along to.
Switching gears a bit, I am also really fond of the pop/rap track “Fxxk Wit Us” featuring Dok2. This is just such a fun collaboration. I don’t know why I get such a kick out of hearing a fully grown woman singing the F word, but I totally do. I guess it’s just sort of vindicating to see someone who is usually depicted as cute and innocent branch out into something a bit more hardcore.The song is incredibly catchy and sounds better than anything I’m currently hearing on western radio. Plus it radiates this chill vibe that makes you feel like a closeted badass, even when you’re just sitting in your room eating cereal in your underwear.
The final song I’d like to highlight, though all of them are so good, is the first single “Hold My Hand.” The one word I would use to describe this song is infectious. We have all been in that quiet and lonely space between relationships where we just miss the feeling of being in love. This song manages to radiate that feeling while also serving as a bittersweet love letter. I also love the synth, guitars, and drums on this track. It has that really loud full concert band feeling that can sometimes be hard to find with K-pop, complete even, with doo-wop backing vocals. It’s the kind of song that you could easily play “again and again and again…” without ever getting bored.
And that is basically LEE HI’s SEOULITE. If you haven’t listened to this one yet, you are definitely in for a treat my friends. This is like everything and nothing you’ve ever heard before all at the same time. It comes with my highest of recommendations.