Queen of the digital charts Heize has returned with an ambitious comeback, releasing two music videos (with a third on the way) for her newest mini album. Honestly, the prospect of reviewing the entire trio is more than daunting. I like Heize’s music just fine, but it hardly fits within my wheelhouse. They always say “write what you know,” so rather than try to stretch my thoughts across three reviews, I decided to focus on Jenga (젠가), which is the track that’s currently killing the charts.
In the past, I’ve found Heize’s distinct vocal tone to be a bit of an acquired taste, but on the jazzy Jenga (and especially on its more ballad-focused counterpart Didn’t Know Me), she skirts a perfect line between quirky and smooth. The track takes the groovy r&b of last year’s Don’t Know You and slows it to a pace more befitting a coffee house, with emphasis on live percussion and a delightfully nimble piano solo. Guest rapper Gaeko provides an assist during the second verse, but this is one hundred percent Heize’s track. Her vocals never strain towards showstopping moments, but she captivates with an engaging sense of coolness.
Admittedly, there’s an upper limit to just how much a laidback track like this can appeal to me, but I understand why Heize has ensnared Korea so completely. Jenga‘s effortlessly airy (mostly English) chorus manages to feel both hooky and aloof, arranged with just enough echo to render it ethereal. It’s a chill song to end all chill songs, and if that’s your thing, Jenga will be a permanent fixture on the 2018 playlist.