The collaboration of CODE KUNST and Lee Hi is important not just because it always seems destined to deliver quality but also because it’s basically the only time Lee Hi is allowed to do anything. That’s a shame, as she has a ton to offer, as she proved without a doubt on “XI“.
“XI” isn’t much of a mystery thematically, as the love being bittersweet persists throughout, but it’s also perfectly reflected in the instrumental. It’s sultry but has a bit of quirk and bite to it, never bogging down as it has a nice groovy foundation. Mostly though it’s about Lee Hi, who delivers flawlessly here, vividly bringing to life lyrics like “love is like a pack of cigarettes, yeah it kills me, but fuck that I need you right now“. She keeps things rolling along and interesting with her dynamic vocal, topping it off with an addicting choral refrain of, “Bittersweet oh love, every love is bittersweet“.
For a song that doesn’t push the tempo and was vocal-centric, it still managed to capture my attention from the start and maintained it to the end. That says a lot about the atmosphere Code Kunst created, as well as how impressive Lee Hi was to bring this to life and carry it for long stretches. It’s such an easy listen that’s so easy to groove to, and it really makes you realize what a shame it is that YG Entertainment doesn’t give her more to do in general, but especially along these lines.