Seo In Guk is one of Korea’s best loved modern balladeers. Even so, it’s been awhile since he’s released any music. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I don’t follow him all that much as a musician, but I did adore him in (Korea’s best drama) Reply 1997. I came into Seasons Of The Heart knowing that it would be a ballad. As a fan of uptempos, it takes something really special for me to rate a ballad highly. Does Seasons Of The Heart have that extra ingredient?
In short, no. But that doesn’t mean the song is without its merits. Every bit of it is incredibly standard in formula and sentiment, but there’s a reason songs like this are so popular with the Korean public. Its swelling melody goes down easy, and Seo sounds absolutely gorgeous. He sings in a soft, airy tone for much of the track. At times, the wistful delivery transforms into something more climactic, though the song never builds to a true crescendo. Instead, the melody pushes and pulls, wavering in strength but never overpowering the listener.
I particularly enjoyed the touch of English tacked onto the end of each chorus — not for the language, but for its melodic twist that quickly becomes the song’s catchiest hook. Subtle turns like this give the Seasons Of The Heart hints of character that it desperately needs. Fans of ballads (especially sentimental ones) will certainly find much to love here. As for me? I’ll happily play it, but only when I’m in the right mood for this type of sound.