Due to the very nature of music, there are going to be songs that many of us will have very strong personal connections to. They might be songs that we adore purely on musical merit or they might be tied to memories or moments that linger within our minds every time the track replays. With this segment, I’ll feature some tracks that connect with me at a very personal level and shed some light on how and why I think they’re great.
Before the release of 2019’s excellent mini album, ‘SPARK’, I wasn’t the biggest fan of JBJ95. I loved their debut single HOME but the rest of their output had felt too reserved and lacked the kind of focus I would have liked. They were a group I wanted to love but just couldn’t. However, ‘SPARK’ changed everything. The lead single of the same name was, and still is one of my favourite singles of 2019 but today I want to talk about a track from the same album that I feel like many either forgot about or completely missed out on. And that is the sensational Hey, Summer.
I’ve listened to a lot of K-pop over the past few years but I don’t think a song has ever pulled as strongly against my emotions as Hey, Summer. It brings me right back to late Winter, early Spring of 2019 and the sheer nostalgia I feel when listening to Hey, Summer is almost unparalleled. I was in my final year of High School at the time and it’s one of those songs that brings me right back to all the fun, stress and sheer excitement I felt during my penultimate year of schooling. That’s something that’s hard to recreate and when your mind naturally connects a song to a moment such as that, it’s hard to ignore. It’s a track that brings me back to the penultimate moments of what would be the last few months of normalcy for the world and one of the most exciting moments of my life. As such, it illicits these memories each and every time it comes around on shuffle. Combine this with the clichéd, yet fitting lyrics, and you’ve already got my heart.
But Hey, Summer is more than just a simple nostalgic trip. There’s a reason why it has had such great longevity and that’s because of its sense of focus. From the instantly memorable guitar loop that fades in to open the track to the incredible performance alongside the majestic ascending guitar riff that punctuates the hook, every single element of Hey, Summer comes together to create a song that knows exactly what it wants to do and how it wants to do it. I remember not being instantly taken with Hey, Summer on first listen. I thought it was too empty, too simple, like it needed something extra to really push it over the line. But after many listens, I’ve come to the conclusion that Hey, Summer succeeds because of its simplicity. Given a more cluttered arrangement, Sanggyun and Kenta could have really taken away the spotlight from the hazy, emotive soundscape but their performance is so simple, so calculated, perfectly matching the tempo of the surging instrumental whilst still maintaining the emotive nature of the track. I know a rating like this might appear too high for many of you, but for me this track is one of the most personal songs of the past few years. And so, with a heavy dose of bias, I proclaim Hey, Summer to be JBJ95’s modern day masterpiece.
Final Rating: 10/ 10