There are few K-pop acts that I feel some sense of attachment to, and Song Ji Eun happens to be one of them. Yes, it’s late, but after many overtime hours, college assignments, and other real life obligations, I’m finally putting my thoughts down on ‘Bobby Doll‘.
The thing I noticed immediately while listening to this album is the overall confidence in her singing that I haven’t seen since Secret‘s early days, but also a severe lack of cohesion between each of the songs. Listening to these songs individually, you would never guess that she has issues with standing on her own as a solo artist, but that hardly means the mini is without flaws.
The opening track, “I Wanna Fall In Love“, showcases the vocal confidence I’m referring to right away. It even fights for its own right as a title song contender. The piano gives a lot of fun weight with the pulsing base notes in the verses, and the opening chord progression reminds me ever so slightly of Keri Hilson‘s “Knock You Down.” I still think that her company made the right choice with the title, but I think she sounds much more comfortable on this track, and as a result I like it much more.
The title song, “Bobby Doll“, is very enjoyable on its own. It’s a quirky catchy melody with a slightly eerie doll theme that has certainly been done before, but not overly so to the point where it feels tiresome. The corresponding music video to the song is nice. She looks absolutely stunning, as if it’s possible for her not to, and it felt appropriate for the season. Not to mention, this theme gives them the opportunity to exploit the “dark princess” themes she’s become known for while also making good use of the Suicide Squad trend. That said, it’s hardly a highlight because there are other tracks on the album I enjoy much more. Songs like “Off The Record” and “Oasis,” for example.
“Off The Record” is my favorite track on the entire mini. I think songs like this are her strength, and I love the more bare moments in the instrumental that really let her crystal clear vocal tone take center stage. Her emotional delivery is probably one of the strongest I’ve heard from her, as well. “Oasis” is a nice mid-tempo that sounds somewhat slinky and sexy in comparison to the rest of the tracks, and I love the repeating “oohs” and “yeahs.” My complaint, though, is this sounds a lot more like it would’ve fit in with her previous single “False Hope” or “Don’t Look At Me Like That.”
The title of this minis ending number, “It’s Okay,” is unfortunately accurate. It’s really just ‘okay’, and the least cohesive number out of the whole effort. I wish they had released this as a summer digital single or something because it truly has no place on this album.
Song Ji Eun has one of those voices that simply appeals to me regardless of what she’s singing. This doesn’t mean the flaws go unnoticed, though. Ji Eun’s potential remains extremely high, having a great vocal color that is instantly recognizable, and coming from one of the more successful groups in the industry, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Most of these songs individually are charming and likable, but together there’s a severe disconnect between each of them. I am rarely disappointed with her releases and find that her work overall has been very solid, but some polish and refinement regarding the details would go a long way in making her a stellar solo act to never miss.