The Queen Bee of Kpop, Lee Hyori, has made her first comeback in 3 years with her fifth album, “Monochrome.”
While I didn’t think that “미스코리아 (Miss Korea)” was a good introduction for her promotions, I thought it was a perfect introduction to her album. Using this as her pre-release gave a perfect preview of what to expect with this album. It was very simple song, and watching the video was like watching a modern take on Diana Ross and The Supremes.
For my taste and what I what to see in Korean music, “Bad Girls” wouldn’t be my choice for Lee Hyori’s title song, in fact, I felt like it had no place on this album at all. However, I understand why it was picked. Korean music is very Kpop oriented, and chart toppers are usually upbeat, dance numbers, and that is exactly what “Bad Girls” is. It did have the retro elements to it that the rest of the album has, but it was still very much a pop song, and very much out of place.
“내가 미워요 (I Hate Myself)” was my favorite song from this album. Not only was this a beautiful song, but I thought it was the best Lee Hyori’s vocals have ever sounded. She didn’t sound strained, and it was perfect for her range.
“Better Together” was another of my favorites. This song mixes an eerie sound with R&B, and a Motown-esque vibe. I loved that this song sounds so old fashion, but the when I listen to it I can picture a variation of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” MV.
I am in love with this album and it gets my vote for album of the year! A three year hiatus, and a plagiarism scandal did wonders for Lee Hyori and her music. With “Monochrome” we see Lee Hyori step back from her idol roots and embrace sounds, and genres outside of pop, and that move created greatness! While the songs still, for the most part, maintained this retro theme we still hear samplings from genres like folk, ballad, hip hop, R&B, Motown, rock, and more that made for a beautiful blend of songs. But, more than anything, I loved that her music has a real maturity, and confidence to it this time around.
Holly Jolly Bus ft. 순심이 (Sun Shim Lee): .75/1
Love Radar ft. 빈지노 (Beenzino): 1/1
사랑의 부도수표 (Bounced Checks of Love): .25/1
Full Moon: .75
Trust Me: 1/1
Amor Mio ft. 박지용 (Park Ji Yong): .5/1
누군가 (Somebody): .75/1
묻지 않을게요 (Wouldn’t Ask You): .5/1
미쳐 (Crazy) ft. 안영미 (Ahn Young Mi): 1/1
쇼쇼쇼 (Show Show Show): 1/1
노 (Oars): 1/1