In a climate where k-pop is dominated by SM and YG Entertainment, it can be easy to overlook JYP, which many consider to be Korea’s third most influential music agency. While SM and YG have been generally sticking by their respective trends and genres, JYP artists have actually given us an incredibly eclectic mix of styles over the past year or two. Not all have been to my taste, but at least the agency is willing to experiment.
With JYP girl group miss A’s future uncertain after the departure of member Jia, lead vocal Fei has hit us with her solo debut, in the form of the sultry Fantasy (괜찮아 괜찮아 Fantasy). The song marks a slightly more experimental sound than we’re used to hearing from her group, with its dense mix of sexy, drugged out synths and atmospheric instrumental. The track has an oddly suffocating vibe to it, like that of a smoky, humid back room. The melody is little more than a shuffle of hushed come-ons and beckoning fingers. It all fits with the “fantasy” theme the track is so aptly titled after. Because of this, it’s much more of a mood piece than a traditional pop song.
This is where we get into personal preference, because I can see how some would be utterly smitten with this track. And even though it’s not the kind of song that really grabs my attention, I can appreciate the lush instrumentation and commitment to painting a strong picture through music. There’s some brilliant, evocative production at work, particularly in the detailed synth work. I just wish it was tied to a stronger, more surprising melody. It feels a little sleepier than I’d like, though that’s really just the genre we’re working with here.