[#12] Kahi - "It's Me" (feat. Dumbfounded)

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From: "Who Are You?"
Released: October
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: 2011: [#34] "Come Back You Bad Person"
Other notable song(s) from 2013: "Hey Boy" (feat. Dok2)

Judging by her first EP, I was moderately optimistic for Kahi's solo release this year. She's a seasoned performer, and I think it definitely shows in her performances. But I did not expect to be as pleasantly surprised as I was when I heard "It's Me", and the rest of "Who Are You?" The very style of the material surprised me first -- it isn't very Pledis at all. But this is such a great fit for Kahi that I couldn't care less.

"It's Me" is style-centric, it's a stylish song you can quite literally imagine would be right at home on a magazine or designer label commercial for Europe. And it works, because of the strong production and the fact that it's very clear about what it is as a song. That's the concept -- it's stylish -- and all the elements stuck to that. From the choice of a half-electronic, but still slightly real-sounding synth line, to the sharp yet raw bass line and all the equally sharp but natural drum rolls, and even to the snapping throughout the verses. It's actually quite bare for a pop song, the arrangement is pretty spaced out. The advantage of the looseness is that you can actually hear everything that's happening, which I think is a pretty good advantage.

It's a polished-sounding song, made with common instruments. Kind of like clothes, actually -- designers can use the most basic fabrics to make them, but it's all up to how they're used. And in "It's Me," those elements, or "fabrics", are no longer simple or plain when they're put together and delivered.

But what has kept me listening is the fact that this song has also made Kahi's vocals sound so, so good. It doesn't just fit her as a performer, it also really, really fits her voice. And that's something "Come Back You Bad Person", and the rest of her first EP, wasn't able to do. The melody still exists on this song -- in fact it's what brings everything together and what gives it character. And it's definitely not monotonous, because while it brings out the best in Kahi's vocals, it still pushes her and doesn't put her in her "comfort zone" -- it stretches her, but doesn't strain. And that's what melodies should do to their singers. The bottom line is, "It's Me" fits Kahi like a glove because it's more of a performers' song than it is a singer's song. It's meant to show off technique and style, and it does it well.

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