Either I’m missing something or Jo Ha Eun (Instagram) is extremely new to the scene, having debuted just late last year (with “Aiya“). Either way, stumbling upon her music was a stroke of luck as her follow-up track, “LOVE IS BAD“, is a moody and memorable gem.
Written and composed by Jo Ha Eun, the song indeed feels personal, painting an intimate soundscape powered by a jazzy piano, snapping fingers, and a simple beat. Things then pick up the pace during the chorus, getting surprisingly lively with the rhythm of Jo Ha Eun’s delivery leaving a lasting impression and creating ample melody. More than anything though it’s her vocal performance that helps set this apart from other R&B efforts, as it’s vulnerable when it needs to be and robust when it needs to be, but always buttery smooth.
Speaking of feeling personal or authentic, the music video is about a relationship between two women, with Jo Ha Eun’s other half being the “bad” lover here. That lover is played by singer/model Som He Vin (who is bi), and the lyrics are about love from somebody who you know will hurt you, less in the physical abuse sense and more gaslighting and controlling sense. Lines like “I’m always like that, why are you being so sensitive, yeah, that’s right, be a good girl like that” are spoken almost directly to Jo Ha Eun, while “the words engraved on the leash said, ‘I love you, baby’” are more metaphorical in nature, but either way the intention is made clear throughout.
While she seems focused on having a jazz influence, hopefully she stays in the R&B lane as well because the genre fits her voice like a glove. Crafting a chill song that even I can get into can take some doing, but Jo Ha Eun slides in smoothly with “LOVE IS BAD” to make quite the impression, and hopefully there’s more to come.