I love Sunmi.
Since officially debuting as a soloist back in 2017, she’s pretty much become the kpop diva. She’s one of the most consistent and instantly enthralling soloists out there, with one hell of a voice. And while she doesn’t release songs very often, when she does, it’s almost guaranteed greatness. Apart from a little hiccup with last years LALALAY, she’s been an artists with a flawless track record. It’s hard to believe that an artist can release masterpieces like Heroine and Siren back to back, but with someone as magnetic as Sunmi, such things is just business as usual. New single Pporappippam (보라빛 밤) feels like a combination of those two tracks and the result is just about as fantastic as you would expect it to be.
Normally I would call such a title obscure, but honestly in a year of Dumhdurum‘s and LALALILALA‘s, the name feels perfectly novel. And much like those aforementioned tracks, it fits right in. That’s 2020 for you I guess?
Produced by Frants, who’s also been responsible for some of the years best tracks, aswell as the aforementioned Siren, Pporappippam feels like a perfect encapsulation of Sunmi’s trademark 80’s synth sound. It’s a template that fits her to a tee and actually would have easily found a place as part of Wonder Girls 2015 opus ‘Reboot’. The opening collage of strings and flute act as an ominously excellent introduction to what is soon to blossom into one the years most buoyant singles. You can even hear the small touches of rhythm guitar in the background! The synth beat that underlines the opening verse feels like it’s been ripped out from any number of 80’s hits, even heavily recalling her own Siren. This is no bad thing as it’s been a while since I’ve heard verses so engaging.
But while the instrumental is heavenly, I must stress that this wouldn’t have worked nearly as well had it not been Sunmi herself. Her voice just wraps around the melody, transforming an already engaging instrumental into one of the most atmospheric soundscapes I’ve heard all year. She’s such an excellent performer, being able to shift between sultry, frail and powerful within seconds. This extends to the pre-chorus, which amps up the drama by injecting heavy blasts of brass and percussion to create a very Heroine esque build towards the chorus. I initially thought this section was abit too messy but further listens have fully cemented the pre-chorus in my head.
But the real star of the show is Pporappippam‘s wonderful chorus. It might not be as impactful or grandiose as her 2018 work but boy does it pack a punch. The funky rhythm guitar and icy synths are musical nirvana to my ears. And while I was unsure of the tracks ‘city pop’ classification, the excellent chorus is pure retro city pop goodness. And it’s a two part chorus too! This is just everything I could ask for and more. Add onto that a heavenly bridge with some soaring electric guitars and you’ve got one of the years best comebacks.
Final Rating: 9.5 / 10