Ever since 2019’s Generasian, Lim Kim has been especially notable to me (surely I’ll get to retroactive year-end lists at some point, surely), especially because her directly feminist and empowering lyrics contrast starkly with the safe, marketable, girl-power type of concepts and statements so often found in K-pop releases. Well, now she’s back with “ULT” off her similarly-titled EP that will be her first since the aforementioned Generasian.
Mostly I’m featuring this because I’ve been slacking on covering Lim Kim, but it’s difficult to not compare this with “YELLOW“. That track also has traditional instrumentation, but had an even more experimental edge, and features unique vocal inflections that seep with venom. Just as importantly, it operates effectively as a kind of avant-garde hip-hop track that’s memorable and I’ve found worth coming back to. On “ULT”, the vocals are oddly mixed during the verses and comparatively reserved, I assume on purpose because she’s too competent to have that be a mistake. Unfortunately, that makes things feel oddly distant, and while perhaps it’s a good personal sign that she’s less outwardly angry on this release, musically-speaking the snap to the tone of things on “YELLOW” worked best. There’s just less interesting going on here, in general, and the MIXX-Pop end to it all didn’t accomplish anything.
Basically, I find that it works best as a performance piece, which is perhaps why it comes with exactly that. In tandem with the visuals and choreography, it’s admittedly much cooler, though I just wish it matched that kind of energy as a listen. Still, as always, Lim Kim is worth checking out and serves as a breath of fresh air.