Another day, another tropical-inspired K-pop track. Last year, when I was complaining about the overuse of this particular sub-genre, I thought it would be on its way out. But so far 2017 has doubled down on the trend, causing so many recent singles to sound the same. Of all the groups that could have fallen down this rabbit hole, The East Light would never have crossed my mind. They debuted last year with the giddy, fantastically hooky teen garage rock of “Holla“, which they later reinvented as an indie disco track. Currently, their youngest member is a contestant in the popular ‘Produce 101‘ series, and I hope they can leverage his notoriety for increased success.
Until that point, The East Light is down to five members, following a trend that doesn’t exactly suit them. “You’re My Love” is a fine song, and not too unlike the group’s past material when it comes to melody. The production is also a treat, going full-on tropical with warm synths and a relaxed island beat rather than attempting to meld these influences half-heartedly to something more current. The song has a classic pop sensibility that feels unforced and organic.
But despite all the song’s strengths, there’s a clash between its overall sound and the members’ vocals. Both Eun Sung and Sa Kang have a sneering sort of delivery that eschews polished studio performance for something more attitude driven. This suits rock music spectacularly, but set against the smooth backing track of “You’re My Love”, and the juxtaposition is a little jarring. It’s as if the group is trying on an outfit that doesn’t quite fit. Experimentation is a good thing, but in every sense of the word, The East Light is a young group. Establishing their own sound is of the utmost importance.