Crush recently released a new mini-album, titled with HER which is composed of five songs with five different female collaborators. His title track, “Let Me Go”, featuring the lovely Taeyeon, is a slow, cool, R&B jam that is perhaps considerably more interesting than it may seem!
The intro piano features pseudo-jazz chord voicings that are commonly heard around the Korean R&B scene. (Zion.T and Heize immediately come to mind). Following the intro, I really like how Crush’s melody in the first verse dances around these voicings. Immediately after, it’s the pre-chorus that really catches my attention. What the hell is going on? Where did we go?! I really want to explain, in detailed musical harmonic analysis, why this transition and chord progression is so strange. Luckily for you guys, I’ll spare you the nerdiness. Instead, it’s worth mentioning how the execution is so seamless. This shouldn’t work so well! This is such an unorthodox approach to pop songwriting yet, to the untrained ear, I don’t think many people will even notice. It’s brilliant! It’s absolutely fantastic to see such creative decisions presented in mainstream Korean R&B music, and done so skillfully.
As per usual, Taeyeon doesn’t disappoint the fans and really shines during the second pre-chorus and second chorus, when harmonizing with Crush. This is just such ingenious songwriting and arranging. Which leads me to the outro.
They harmonize with an augmented fourth. Let me say that again. They harmonize with an augmented fourth! I’m sure the vast majority of you have no idea what I’m talking about. But it is, as you can hear in the link above, a very jarring interval, especially for “western” popular music standards. In fact, it was so jarring to Medieval Western European ears that it was considered to be the sound of the Devil and was banned from sacred music. What’s hilarious to me is how nonchalantly Crush and Taeyeon do it, especially so slowly and pronounced in the last two words of the song (and shortly before then).
The ‘tritone’ (as it is commonly referred to) is sung with the words,“Goodbye now”. Could it be that it was used as a musical representation for a painful, difficult, and reluctant goodbye?! Crush is enlisting soon…
No matter the reason, I am truly and legitimately impressed at the commitment this song takes in exploring harmonic ideas uncommon to the genre and still make it sound very typical for the genre. It is amazing.
With that said, Crush and Taeyeon are Devil worshippers…