Jeong Jin Woon’s solo material has always been a welcome, rock-tinged counterpoint to K-pop’s usual blend of hip-hop and dance. The guy’s got a whole lot of swagger, and a gritty tone to back it up. New single All I Need Is You switches things up, presenting an experimental soundscape heard more often in indie pop than mainstream idol fare.
I’m loving the song’s hazy dream pop sound. The heavy reverb and distortion is rare to hear in K-pop, and feels like a natural progression for Jin Woon‘s music. Unfortunately, the song’s abrasive chorus is a big ‘no’ from me. Jin Woon gives his best rockstar snarl, but the deliberately unpolished performance feels more grating than compelling. This is coupled by a plodding refrain, which never takes advantage of the immersive textures around it.
This is a shame, since All I Need Is You’s opening verse gets the song off to a good start. After an ascending blend of synths, Jin Woon delivers a stream-of-consciousness melody over minimalist production that enlists handclaps rather than EDM percussion for its build. His filtered vocals sound as if they’ve been recorded underwater, but it’s all in service to the song’s desired vibe. It’s quite affected in a hipster kind of way, but this is K-pop we’re talking about. You could hear the likes of All I Need Is You blaring from any indie music store in the States, but I could see how it might strike a different chord within the mainstream Korean music industry.