Leave it to good old Sojung of Ladies’ Code to deliver our dreampop fix this March. In the vocalist’s first solo comeback since her debut last spring’s, Sojung is back with a double single featuring two title tracks, the prerelease “Crystal Clear” and the following “Stay Here.” Both draw from the same spacy, atmospheric corner of R&B, though at the end of the day they’re more pop than anything else. The instrumental takes a backseat to vocals in these two tracks, focusing all the listener’s attention on Sojung’s talent rather than on the song’s energy or texture. It’s not a bad move. Sojung’s vocal is entrancing, and it suits this comeback’s genre beautifully.
Released a week before “Stay Here,” “Crystal Clear” builds up from its gently thrumming opening to a sweeping electronic chorus with soaring vocals. Its dramatic drop could, for me, have been even heavier, perhaps with some really sharp synths or the occasional appearance of empty space to contrast with the bass. While the drop does grow progressively steeper with each repetition, it never hits crazy hard. Of course, I like to be socked in the gut by my K-pop drops, but this song isn’t aiming for that. “Crystal Clear” is, at its core, a melancholy brand of mellow, not EDM. The same thing could be said for the other track on the single, but “Stay Here” has a bit more texture. The melody of the chorus is also more tightly reigned in than that of “Crystal Clear,” though both are equally mellow. At the end of the day, its closely drawn hook makes “Stay Here” more engaging. While you can lose yourself in “Crystal Clear,” it’s “Stay Here” that makes you want to hum along. I hope Sojung’s solo career continues down this road in the future, because I could use more of this dreamy sound in K-pop.
CRYSTAL CLEAR & STAY HERE: KAYBOPS OR KAYFLOPS? Bops.
Take a look at Sojung’s “Crystal Clear” & “Stay Here” MVs below: