After recently releasing “Awoo,” Lim Kim has now dropped her new single, “Love Game.” Similarly to “Awoo,” “Love Game” relies heavily on Lim Kim’s voice to carry the track. It also strays from the folk pop sound that is often closely associated with Lim Kim’s sound. However, that’s where comparisons between “Awoo” and “Love Game” start to break down.
While it may not be as successful an effort as “Awoo,” “Love Game” is a genuinely good video and a fine (if slightly flawed) song that still highlights all of Lim Kim’s great qualities as a singer and a soloist.
From the very beginning, it’s clear that “Love Game” relies on Lim Kim’s unique delivery to carry the entire track. Rapid claps help kick things off, but they are quickly overtaken by Lim Kim’s vocals which are aggressively pushed to the forefront of the song. Short horn bursts and bass are added to the mix, but the music is clearly being used as an accent to Kim’s voice. As far as composition goes, it’s a smart move. Lim Kim has a fantastic unique airy delivery, and there’s certainly no harm in highlighting it (it’s a welcome reprieve from most K-pop tracks that often rely on elaborate production and overtly tuned vocals to make their mark).
If there is a weakness to be had in “Love Game”, it’s one of rigidness. Lim Kim delivers her lines in a stilted measure that plays off the staccato beats of the instrumental track, but that hard-hitting approach starts to become numbing after awhile. The song recovers wonderfully by scaling back to the clapping and Lim Kim combination that worked for the intro, but the last third of “Love Game,” especially the “da-da-dah-dah” parts, sounds like the world’s most pleasant jackhammer, for better and for worse.
The “Love Game” music video was disturbing/amusing, as Lim Kim intentionally (?) wrecks a bunch of Peeping Toms/stalkers/home invaders. The simple premise allows the video to go in pretty much any direction, and “Love Game” opts for brightly colored sets and props which allow Lim Kim to pop in black or white clothes. The various sets definitely look like music video set pieces, but the wildly differing colors of the bedroom, kitchen, elevator, and hallway helps keep “Love Game” interesting.
While I’m wary of home invasion and predator behavior being played for laughs, Lim Kim does such a good job of portraying confidence and righteous violence in a tongue-and-cheek way that, when combined with the aforementioned BRIGHTNESS of everything, the whole project somehow comes off as charming as Lim Kim’s vocals.
The choreography isn’t much to write home about, and seems to come from the IU school of “wiggle a bit to the left, wiggle a bit to the right”, but Lim Kim absolutely slays the video. Her makeup is done in a way that is glamorous but not over worked. Her wardrobe is remarkably on point (outside of the godawful glitter “Go Absolutely” sweater), a striking balance between club wear and pop costuming that most K-pop groups forego for the standard high rise pants and a crop top shirt these days (ok, there’s a little of that in “Love Game”, but at least there’s other outfits as well). Like the other elements of the video, the styling succeeds at making Lim Kim shine.
“Love Game” is not without flaws. The marching tempo of the track becomes a little easy to tune out, and the hook can be grating on replay. Also, as far as her recent music videos go, “Awoo” is a stronger track than “Love Game”. However, despite those minor quibbles, “Love Game” gets a lot more right than it gets wrong because it does embrace Lim Kim’s voice and all that she has to offer as a performer. Her prominent placement on the track is the only reason that the song has life and personality, and her work on camera is what makes “Love Game” charismatic instead of: A) insanely creepy or B) mean-spirited or C) very boring.
For a song that banks everything on its star, “Love Game” may not be perfect, but it’s a damn good track and another strong effort from Lim Kim.