When f(x)’s Amber released her debut mini-album last year, my favorite track by far was the lush Love Run. What’s notable about this is that the track is entirely sung, despite Amber being known as the rapper in her group. I don’t think anyone would crown her as a powerhouse vocalist, but Love Run was the first time I realized just how pleasant, and surprisingly rich, her tone can be.
On My Own takes full advantage of that, pairing her vocals with a mellow, atmospheric track and melody. After the tepid Borders in February, I’d just about given up on Amber’s ability to create solo music that didn’t feel completely extraneous and unnecessary. She dials back here, casting a calm, almost dreamlike vibe. The filtered drumbeat has a trippy effect, which matches her restrained performance and causes the track to feel more open and expansive than it is. Better yet are the background vocals from producer Gen Neo, which gently add texture and weight to an otherwise airy track. His voice isn’t prominent in the mix, but it offers much needed balance.
Like Borders, On My Own doesn’t feel particularly big. It doesn’t draw attention to itself as an event single, but as an interesting little side project, it goes a long way in making the case for Amber’s solo career (which hasn’t exactly felt essential thus far). Most importantly, the song was recorded in Korean (with an English version available), which means we’re free from some of the cliched lyrics that have haunted her past material.