Music Review: Lee Hi "First Love - Part 2"

It's a bit late (due to an unforeseen Internet meltdown) but I'm finally writing about Part 2 of Lee Hi's new album! I have already reviewed the first part of her album, and about Lee Hi herself, so I'll be skipping that part here. If you didn't catch that post you can read it Here!

Lee Hi's First Love - Part 2, released March 27th 2013! 

The second part of her album was delayed by a week, but it was worth the wait! I am slightly biased towards Part 1, but that may just be because I've had it longer. The second part has a different side of Lee Hi to it, it's a bit more mysterious and mellow, especially compared to her upbeat song "It's Over". Part 2 has the same amount of tracks as the first one, making the full album 10 tracks long. The album art is a bit tighter and cleaner, and has a nice elegant appeal. Enough about how it looks, and onto how it sounds!

- Rose 

The first song on the album is the main song, as in the one they focused on and made a Music Video for. I absolutely love this video and want to talk about it a bit, before going on to the song itself. If you haven't seen the video yet, you can watch it Here! Both "It's Over" and "Rose" are artistic video, but in very different ways. While It's Over is quirky and playful, with childlike elements to it, Rose is a bit darker and has a more mature concept. The stark contrast between the white, black, and red was intensified with the harsh lighting and color contrast. Instead of just saying that every rose has it's thorns, you can see the blood and pain that the thorns caused, making the lyrics impact a bit stronger. I also love the banners with song lyrics draped across the set, the piles of different roses, and especially the superb costuming that hits every detail from the contacts to the outfit. It's really well done, and fits the mood of the song.
As for the song itself, it is really beautiful! The very beginning of the song fades in and starts off with Lee Hi's powerful voice. There are so many layers that slowly join in from there, including Piano chords, a electronic beat, and a Bass with a slight distortion sound. The more I listen to it, the most I can hear the distinct sound that each instrument has. Lee Hi shows off her lower range really well in this song, and it sounds to smooth and natural. I love the echo effects that they used on her voice, like the "oh, oh, oh" parts, and at the Bridge as well. The Bridge may be my favorite part because of the overlay, and the quick use of English and Korean mixed together. I'm a big fan of the song "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" by Poison and whether or not she was referencing that song doesn't really matter, because I'll think of that song whenever I hear that phrase used. The song ends abruptly with "I don't want to hurt you", and next thing you know it's over! (Pardon the pun)

- Fool For Love (바보)

The last song has a more modern sound, while this one sounds so much like something you would hear at a classy Jazz Cafe or Jazz Bar (whichever Jazz based establishment you prefer). She harmonizes with herself in this one, which has a much more futuristic and almost synthesized sound that if she were to harmonize with another person. I mean that in a good way though, when you layer her voice over and over again there's a type of mysterious sound that comes out, like if a pair of triplets with the same voice sang together. It adds a lot to the song, and really makes it something special. I'm so mesmerized by the vocals in this song that I hardly pay attention to the instuments. There are basic Jazz instruments in the background, including a Piano and Drum Kit, which stand out the most. When you really listen to them you realize that they add a lot to the song, without taking away from the singing. I also really liked the way that the song started off and ended with only one voice, and she slowly began and ended the song, just like any other classic sounding Jazz song would.

- Because

What makes this song sound truly unique are the pauses that she puts in. It's all about taking your time and not rushing any of the lyrics, so you can really emphasize you point. At the beginning you think that maybe the track got stuck, and then you realize that each breath of air and pause is deliberate. It's such a sad and honest song, with the internal struggle of a love hate relationship playing out. You say one thing, then you take it back and apologize, and then go back again and say that you did mean it, and continue in the cycle. In the end she just wants them to know that she lived for once, and was happy (and is now sad and angry) "because of you". The music is also really delicate at times and has that same deliberate sound, as the notes aren't really blended together, but each one stands out. I love the addition of the acoustic guitar that slowly fades in, and the soft orchestra that comes in at the middle. I would love and instrumental of this song, in fact all of the songs, because the music really is up to par with Lee Hi's talent.

- Am I Strange (내가 이상해

My eyes played a trick on my the first few times I saw this song title, I kept thinking it was "I Am Strange", but it's a question and not a statement. Appropriately, this song does have a type of strange sound. I love how the stringed instruments, like the Cello, and plucked instead of being played the "proper" way. There are a lot of sporadic sounds in the song that come and go, including a Piano, Trumpet, Music Box, a type of Maraca, and of course the Cello, along with many others. There's so much going on with this song just instrumentally, that I keep listening to it on loop trying to catch all of it. There's a really unique and "strange" sound when all of the music comes together, with Lee Hi's interesting voice. At times it sounds strained, and she changes her range several times throughout the song. I also loved the part when she took in a deep breath so you could hear it, so it was a bit more like a sigh. The song describes how she's just a normal girl, and looks like everyone else, and wonders why she's being stared at like she's weird. "Your look makes me feel like I'm covered in wounds". The song ends slowly, with the sound of something dropping, which was a cool note to finish with.

- 1, 2, 3, 4 

If you know about Lee Hi, I'll assume that you heard her debut song. It's the final track on the album, ending it all with the beginning (in a way). I'm not going to dwell on it too long because it's not a new song, but I am still mentioning it because I like it so much. You can watch the Music Video for the song Here. It did get criticism because of Lee Hi's acting ability wasn't too high at the time, but I think she's really improved. Also, that kind of doll-like look is kind of her trademark at this point. This is the song that made me fall in love with Lee Hi. When I heard it I thought, "Finally! A female artist from Korea that can make some stellar modern Soul/Jazz music!" Man, is this a catchy song! The English phrases are used perfectly, and the type of scatting that she does in the Bridge is great. The beat is heavier than the music on the rest of this album, and there's a short burst of Brass at the end of each "thump" of the drums. It's the little details that make this song great, and I could probably go on for a while about them. The main point I want to mention is that her voice is so powerful and assertive in this song, and she didn't hold back at all! I'm happy that it's on this album, in case people missed out on buying it for her debut, and it's a great reminder to see where she came from and where she's headed.

That's it! The second part of Lee Hi's newest EP is as great as the first, yet distinctively different as well. The only thing I feel like the album is missing is a few instrumentals. I'm a big fan of instrumental tracks, and I always like to have them at the end of an album to get to know the music better. It's not terrible that they didn't include them, but I did wish there was at least one. Besides that, it's really fantastic! Lee Hi did not disappoint me t all with her comeback, and I'm already looking forward to her next project! You can buy Part 2 of the album on iTunes for about $6, or buy the full album (now that it's out) as well! They have it at Yes Asia and Kpop Plus for around $20. Of course you can buy it at other places if you'd like, but those are my favorite online music stores personally. If you already own the album, or have listened to it, let me know what you think of it in the comments? Did you like Part 1 or Part 2 better? If you haven't listened to it yet, I hope you'll be able to soon! I also hope that you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

See you next time you jump down the Rabbit hole,