Saturday, December 8, 2012

[#37] Lee Hi - "1, 2, 3, 4"

From: "1, 2, 3, 4"
Format: Digital Single
Released: January
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Appearances: First Appearance

I didn't really write much about it, but I pretty much religiously followed the first season of K-Pop Star. I was drawn to the show mainly because the audition-based reality show format isn't really something I'd associate to the already-established idol training system and, and I wanted to see how they'd do it. So it's been really amusing to see all the debuts to spring out of it. (And the injustices of some...)

Lee Hi's debut was the best-handled one, in my opinion. Ah Yeon's was boring, and let's not start on Ji Min's because it's going to take more than a post to vent out my frustrations. You'd think that choosing YG would be detrimental to Lee Hi, since it's pretty widely known that JYP's the one who deals more with swing and soul and sounds like that, but we all know what happened to the two girls who chose JYP.

YG gave her a song that matched not only her voice, but also the image she portrayed on Kpop Star. That's the part of audition shows that goes against the system -- the judges, and the agencies who the contestants will eventually sign to, have little to no control over the image and even musical directions that the contestants take during their time on the show. It's a stark contrast from the training system that keeps everything about an act hush-hush until the agency says so. There's mentoring, yes, but as far as these kinds of shows go, the mentoring will only affect so much, and we're not even sure that the contestant will sign to the agency mentoring him/her. And once the public see the contestant a certain way, it's hard to change that view.

"1, 2, 3, 4" serves that purpose, yes, but it's also a really good song. Outstanding production, but then again I forget that this is YG, and that's pretty standard for them. I like how it sounds very British with all the instruments and part of the structure, but I also really like how it stays K-Pop in all it's crispness and fun. It's easy to get carried away and just make a carbon copy of a random Adele song, but I'm glad it didn't happen on this.

But I what I like most about this song is the fact that because it matches Lee Hi's voice, it's able to bring out the good parts, like her range and how her voice gets really, really beautiful in lower (but not too low) registers. That and because she's not really a performer in the K-Pop "let's jump around stage" sense, they gave her a song with emotions and elements strong enough to carry a performance so the focus is not on her movements and stage presence, but really in how she sings the song.

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