While I predominantly cover singles on here, I’ve always been an avid consumer of albums. More often than not, this results in some songs that I adore but others that I detest. As a remedy to this issue, we have Beast Sides! These songs put the Beast in B-side and are either stronger than their accompanying title track or songs that are just too solid to leave out.
I really enjoy Yukika’s new album. I’ve always loved city pop and it always warms my heart when I see artists fully commit to the genre. Yukika in particular has been an artist I’ve had my eye on for a while. Her dedication to the genre and her willingness to push the limits has really struck a chord with me. To these ears her debut Neon stands as her strongest work but there are many songs on this project that challenge that title. The majority of her new album including title Soul Lady has a real timeless sheen and while I do enjoy the lead single quite a bit, the song that really stood out to me was the more downtempo Shade.
I’m one of those people who usually gravitate to more upbeat material so the fact that Shade hit me the hardest is quite a surprise. But one look at the producers and I understood exactly why. Monotree’s Hwang Hyun, who’s responsible for some of my favourite kpop tracks of the past few years was heavily responsible for crafting Shade and his golden touch is found all over the gorgeous chorus. It’s one of my favourite melodies of the year and easily helps Shade conquer its more uninteresting moments. I love the how the subtle electronics and strings come together to create an almost sinister mood that perfectly compliments the songs hypnotic downtempo instrumental. The addition of backing vocals and some perfectly timed vocal layering all combine to create one of the years most enjoyable centrepieces.
But honestly what really makes the whole performance work is Yukika’s great vocals. I honestly couldn’t imagine another modern day performer (other than maybe Sunmi) who has such an evocative tone and one that fits retro themed music perfectly. She imbues every moment with so much emotional pathos that it feels like you’re quietly falling under her spell. And by the time the music fades out and you’re left with nothing but the sound of rain it’s like you’ve gone through an album full of memories you’ve never experienced. Couple this with this Sunmi’s Pporappippam and The Midnight Romance’s Midnight Romance and you’ve got the 2020’s holy trinity of retro city pop.
Final Rating: 8.75 / 10