After the confusing personel-fumbling that led to the demise of one of East Asia's most legendary groups, KARA, and the ill-concieved Japanese debut of talented sexy-concept septet Rainbow, DSP Media now places its hopes on a rarity in the world of KPop - a coed group.
The first female vocalist/songwriter/producer signed by Jay Park's independent AOMG label, Hoody (Kim Hyun-Jung), former bandmate of hiphop cult favorite KittyB and guest vocalist on several of Jay Park's most recent singles, finally stakes a claim of her own on the burgeoning Seoul indy R&B scene with a classic disco-flavored R&B number "By Your Side" from her impressive solo EP On and On.
Auspiciously dubbed by some as "new queen of underground Korean R&B," Hoody Kim has been rewarding eardrums since her beginnings as a member (with KittyB) of the all-female hiphop group Amourette and guest appearances not only with Park, but other trailblazers, including a particularly hypnotic collaboration with the American electronica group Teengirl Fantasy in the alluring and surreal track "U Touch Me."
We first saw Hoody here at KPoppa.com when she appeared with Park on our favorite KBS program "Sketchbook," joining the Seattle-born song-and-dance man in a virtually flawless rendition of our favorite Park tune "Solo." She seemed endearingly nervous and awkward on the sparse stage, but her voice and phrasing make a huge impression. She might not be much of a dancer, but she has one of the smoothest vocal styles in South Korea pop today. "Solo" is a remarkable song and Hoody not only lent her voice but co-wrote the song.
"By Your Side" harkens us to a glitzy disco-ball spangled dance floor, with Philly soul flavored piano and wirey synth riding a wave of sensual guitars and a tight, classic, irresistable 70's rhythm section. Her sweet trills dance over the track, parting ways for an effective change-of-pace guest vocalist Jinbo over the bridge. "By Your Side" is indicative of the entire EP, On and On, which offers a flow of sultry, classic R&B sounds that occasionally surprise with little bright touches of electronic trim. On and On and particularly its lead track "By Your Side" is a welcome effort from this impressive talent.
The one downside of the package might be the oddly disturbing video for the track, which takes a few views to piece together, and features images of a violent car accident. The destruction and violence of the piece is completely unexpected, especially due to the bright, celebratory tone of "By Your Side." We can only guess at what the motivation for this production choice could be - purely attention-getting? Decide for yourself: