Like many others, I first fell in love with Apink’s Eunji after watching the brilliant Reply 1997. She possesses such a bright, compassionate energy as both an actress and a singer that it’s hard not to root for her. With Hopefully Sky, she makes her solo debut, and it sounds very little like what we’re used to hearing from her group.
Here, Eunji’s warm vocals are utilized to great effect within the folk-pop genre. I was wary of this sound, since it’s a bit overdone this time of year and generally not what I gravitate to, but it provides a smart match for Eunji’s performance style. The track’s strongest aspect is its verses, which have a rustic, well-traveled feel to them. This melody is instantly memorable, taking direct cues from classic songs of the genre. Folk musician Hareem provides instrumental support, painting a hazy backdrop that suits Eunji’s vocals to a tee.
Unfortunately, the song could do with a stronger hook. The chorus’s melody is pretty enough, but is always perched somewhere between breezy and soaring. It never fully hits either of those marks, and that feels like a missed opportunity. In fact, immediately after the chorus, the track segues back into the verses’ melody for its wordless refrain. While this provides a strong throughline, one terrific melodic turn is not enough to fuel an entire song. But even with this issue, it’s hard not to be at least a little won over by the track’s gentle, uplifting nature.