[#33] Song Ji Eun (Secret) feat Zelo (B.A.P.) - "Vintage"

From: "희망고문"
Released: September
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: First Appearance
Other notable song(s) from 2013: "Date Mate", "희망고문"

TS Entertainment's A&R department has always been pretty confused -- sometimes they hit, sometimes they miss -- but on those times that they do manage to give the right song to the right act, more often than not we get magic. Secret's Ji Eun's EP is one of those times and while the other two tracks are good too, it's "Vintage" that really stood out. For starters, it actually fits Ji Eun's voice. One of my biggest complaints with Secret singles is that half of them don't fit the group's vocals, Ji Eun included, so to have TS get her songs she actually sounds good on is an achievement in itself.

There's more focus on the melody than anything, which is standard in a solo pop song/single -- it's the performance that dictates the direction of the song. And in "Vintage"'s case, a strong melody is carried by a strong performance. Ji Eun has the right timbre and enough technique to give the melody oomph and dimension, and the melody pushes Ji Eun as well -- it brings out the strengths of her voice through the belting and the mid-octave verses. Nothing too whiny, nothing too low, just right. On it's own the melody has some great moments -- like the second bridge which combines a gutsy and choppy lead vocal with smooth, long lines for back vocals.

While it is a performance-centric song, the instrumental can very well stand on its own. It has an effortless groove to it -- with the muffled (on purpose) retro-synths and sharp drum line. At a glance it sounds very laid-back, but upon closer listening there's actually a lot happening throughout the song -- there are those DJ scratches before verses, the snapping at the verses, a brass section even. And creating that illusion of simplicity is not an easy thing to do. It's all about moderation, pacing, and of course mastery, which the arrangement, and "Vintage" as a whole, shows very clearly.


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