[#25] 2YOON - "Nightmare" (with BTOB's Ilhoon)

From: "Harvest Moon"
Released: January
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: First Appearance
Other notable song(s) from 2013: "Why Not", "24/7", "쎄쎄쎄" (feat. Kikaflo), "Black Swan" (feat. 낯선)

It's not secret that I absolutely adored 2YOON's "Harvest Moon" -- I think it's a solid album from start to finish that brings out the best in 2YOON's vocals. Which is why I had such a hard time choosing which song from it to include on the countdown. "Nightmare", I'd say, is both the most Cube-sounding song on the EP, as well as the song that makes use of 2YOON's vocals the best. I also touched on this when I reviewed "Harvest Moon" earlier this year:

"Nightmare", which features BTOB's Ilhoon, is one of those songs that go for the subdued epic sound, with the flat, gentle melody, and all these generic instruments made to sound bigger and fuller. But I like how they took that template and instead of singing it like other people who hide behind it and let the song do the work (which works too sometimes), their vocals gave the melody some intensity, and created some good friction between the melody and the instrumental. There were some really gorgeous moments when their vocals smoothed out but retained the intensity -- brilliant. 2YOON's vocals are hard to do A&R for, honestly, because there are times when their vocals end up making the song cheap, and what I expected to happen on this song was that the producers try to cover up the intensity, which is a really, really bad idea. Instead they did the complete opposite, and it actually worked.

And I still think that's the case -- 2YOON's vocals can potentially sound whiny, they're a bit rough around the edges as far as female, "feminine" vocals go, but "Nightmare" was able to make them sound graceful. That has a lot to do with the friction I was talking about, the instrumental is subdued enough that the vocals don't have to fight it just to be heard. It's less of friction and more of a contrast that leads to balance -- the instrumental and the melody compliment each other and fill in what's missing from the other.

But the bottom line is that "Nightmare" is a gorgeous song. Because it was executed well, it works. It's gripping, heart-wrenching, and exactly the kind of epic it should be. But at the same time, because of the subtle dynamics to the instrumental courtesy of the choice of instruments and the treatment, it's not a heavy song. This is something you can keep on loop for days on end and not get sick of.

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