The year of the duets continues, with JYP launching its own series of in-house company collaborations. If nothing else, the project seems well-suited to give us new music from some of the agency’s less-promoted artists. For instance, it’s been ages since we heard from Kpop Star‘s Bernard Park, and for With You, he’s been paired with Hye Rim of legendary girl group Wonder Girls.
It seems like I’m writing about spring-oriented tracks every day. ‘Tis the season, I suppose. With You carries on the trend, giving us a light, acoustic pop song that feels more like comfort food than anything substantial. The track opens with a sprightly guitar loop, which provides the rhythmic frame for the entire song. It’s a nice, ear-grabbing production element, and honestly the most memorable thing about the track. Bernard and Hye Rim feel a bit like they’re on autopilot, but it works for the laidback, hazy melody. It’s not a “belt out the notes as strongly as you can” type of song, though it could do with a little more tension in the arrangement.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Those looking for something chill, pleasant and well-suited for the season will find a lot to love here. That’s never been my M.O. when it comes to kpop, but I can recognize when it’s done well, and With You is an admirable entry in the genre. Honestly, it’s already more enjoyable than a lot of SM’s similarly positioned Station releases. I’ll be interested to see what comes next from this project.