Only a few days after Girls’ Generation‘s big tenth anniversary album, former member Jessica Jung is back with her own celebration, entitled My Decade. While it could be argued that the move (and album title) is a bit petty, Jessica deserves to honor her own career just as much as the group she was once a part of. I’ve been no fan of her solo work in the past, but though Summer Storm is not momentous enough to register very strongly, it goes down easy as her most enjoyable solo single to date.
Jessica has a passionate fanbase for many reasons, but one of the biggest has to be her distinct, airy vocal tone. This is a point of contention among many listeners, who find themselves polarized by a sound that can either be considered “ethereal” or “nasally” depending on who you ask. As part of Girls’ Generation, this distinction was less of an issue, as it gave the group a needed dose of character. On her own, Jessica’s voice is front and center in all of its weaknesses and strengths.
Luckily, Summer Storm does its best to wrap her performance in an ingratiating soft rock package. The surging mix of drums and synth offer a quietly anthemic drive, even if the instrumental doesn’t attempt anything groundbreaking or original. While I would still like to see her push into more interesting material artistically, there’s a melodic warmth to the song that suits her vocal quirks. The chorus’s extended notes do grate a little, but I love the moments when she opts for a more clipped, conversational delivery. Pieces of Summer Storm perfectly harness that light, almost otherworldy tone of hers, which gives me hope for future releases.