Heads up, guys—big bop incoming. Former “Unpretty Rapstar” contestant Jeon Soyeon, who debuted as a soloist last year under Cube, is back with her second digital single, “Idle Song.” I personally didn’t love her debut “Jelly”—there’s something about the song’s frivolous attitude that feels a little glib to me—but self-composed track “Idle Song” is pure delight. It demonstrates the genuine artistry that you can feel when you listen to R&B and hip-hop artists such as Heize or Dynamic Duo. The laid-back “Idle Song” unites viciously catchy vocal hooks with an idiosyncratic instrumental, and the result’s as addicting as it is relaxed.
Jeon Soyeon has this distinctive rap style that draws close to sing-talking, but pulls up right at its edge instead of crossing the border. It affects all the catchiness of talky hooks like those you might hear from TWICE while simultaneously affording the pleasure of some good satisfying rap. The playful melodies and surprising rhythm alterations are just too fun. Delivered by anyone else, that pendulum-like “neodo, nado, neodo, nado” chorus could be annoying as all heck. Performed by Soyeon, though, it’s the kind of hook that will have you dancing down the hallway instead of walking. The more you replay it, the more boppable it gets. You’ve got to give due credit to the delicious production, which arranges a wonderfully textured collection of percussive sounds over a warbly electric guitar loop with a touch of American country twang (even a xylophone makes an appearance, if I’m not mistaken). I’m especially enamored with one detail in particular, the hushed echo affect applied to the song’s final phrase. “After the fall is gone and the cold winter comes, I might miss the summer again,” Soyeon sings, and a cavernous auditory space suddenly opens up around her words. There’s something just slightly ominous about ending such a lighthearted song in this way. It seems to imply that the relationship described in the lyrics just might not make it past the summer. The moment is a testament to the consideration that was put into the production of this track.
It’s been reported that Cube plans to debut Soyeon with a girl group sometime in the next year, and before this single, I was looking forward to seeing how her presence would take shape among the styles of other members. After “Idle Song,” though, I’m torn. It’s clear from this song that she’s got heaps of potential as a solo artist to make unique and sincere music. Ideally, all that potential will feed into the music of the new girl group she’ll be joining. I do worry a bit for the new group—Cube’s recent track record with current girl group CLC hasn’t been spectacular, and while they’ve been very successful in dividing resources between brother groups BTOB and PENTAGON, it always makes me a little nervous to see a company debut a new girl group when their current female project isn’t doing so well. My biggest hope for Soyeon this year is that she is able to continue performing her own music, whether alone or in a group, because I need another “Idle Song” to jam to.
IDLE SONG: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? I’m ringing the KAYBOP bell with all the energy in my being.
Take a look at Jeon Soyeon’s “Idle Song” MV below: