(Review) Lee Hi’s First Love: First Impressions


Lee Hi dropped the first half of her debut album earlier. People  have high expectations for the album because of the stellar performance of her first single, 1,2,3,4 and to a lesser extent, the sophomore Scarecrow.  The two singles did a great job of showing Ha Yi’s range and versatility both as a performer and as a vocalist, so I’m looking forward to the discoveries I will make about her through this album.  Read on for my first impressions on the tracks…

Credits to YG Entertainment.
Credits to YG Entertainment.

(Disclaimer: I hardly know Korean so I didn’t analyze the song in terms of the lyrics. My opinions will mostly what I feel about the delivery, flow and instrumentals of the songs.)

1. Turn It Up (Intro)

Likes:

  • Very catchy. Served its purpose as an introduction to the album.   Had it on reapeat since its release last March 1.
  • Great collaboration by Lydia and Kush to create a song that is feel good but still has a lot oomph. In fact, better than Teddy’s and Lydia’s work on 2NE1’s I love You.
  • Gives another view to what Lee Hi is capable as a vocalist since it’s a different from 1,2,3,4 and Scarecrow.

Dislikes:

  • Too short! I want a full version.

Rating: 5/5

2. Special feat. Jennie Kim of YG New Girl Group

Likes :

  • Lee Hi sounds flawless as usual.
  • Gorgeous piano line.

Dislikes:

  • The sound becomes dragging and boring after first half.
  • Jennie Kim’s rapping has improved in terms of enunciation and timing when compared to demo videos but I still fer her rapping lacks attitude. I like Euna Kim’s rapping better. The latter’s voice is also a bit high pitched and wispy like Jennie, but overall Euna’s rapping has better flow and attitude.
  • I feel the song lacks a proper climax.

Rating: 3/5

3. It’s Over (Title Song)

Likes:

  • Welcome change from the  dragging previous track
  • Tempo and overall feel of the song is very  Lee Hi-appropriate, spunk and age-wise. I don’t know about the actual meaning lyrics of the song, though.

Dislikes:

  • YG seems to have a penchant for the words “It’s Over” in Lee Hi’s singles.
  • Did not take advantage of Ha Yi’s vocal range thus it  sounded monotonous and repetitive.
  • Safe choice for a title song since it’s bit similar to 1,2,3,4.

Rating: 3/5

4. One-sided Love

Likes:

  • Song is focused on the vocals. Background instrumentals did not overpower Lee Hi’s voice.

Dislikes:

  • A bit too slow for my liking.
  • Could use a better middle 8.

Rating: 3.5/5

5. Dream

Likes:

  • After the intro, this is my next favorite.
  • Very soothing to the ears. Reminds me a lot of the heartfelt ballads of Corinne May and Norah Jones.
  • Excellently showcases how mature and solid Lee Hi’s voice is.
  • Soothing but not boring. Slow but very powerful.

Dislikes:

  • Abrupt ending.

Rating: 4/5

Summary:

I have mixed opinions about the first half of  First Love. I love some of the songs while I found most to be so so. Some may forgive the faults of the songs since Lee Hi is consistently a good singer but I think that’s where problems may arise. YG may bank too much on Hi’s ability and forget whether the melody and the music itself still allows the singer to shine.  That’s my main issue about Track 2,3 and 4–they are easily forgettable.  Hi has such as a good range, with a gorgeous low  register and very high albeit unpolished upper register. If it’s properly taken advantage of, her songs could have more character than the some of the songs here which makes her look a polished yet boring singer.

Despite my grievances, I giving this album a chance as we have yet to hear the other four new songs. I hope they would be enough to redeem the first half of the album.

Overall Rating: 3.7/5

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