Like so many K-pop groups, Lovelyz is perfectly poised to bolster their fan base through the addition of solo and sub-unit promotions. Woollim Entertainment did a great job harnessing this potential with Infinite, but apart from a few digital releases here and there, Lovelyz’s output has been almost entirely group-based. Hopefully that will change soon, but for now we have another digital single — this time from leader BabySoul. Though my favorite Lovelyz vocal tones belong to members Kei and Sujeong, she is more than worthy of solo spotlight.
A Piece of the Moon (조각달) gives BabySoul an interesting aesthetic to play around with. Based on past material, I would have expected something more r&b-focused. But, the song feels like a moment from a movie musical. I don’t mean that in a “jazz hands,” sing-for-the-rafters way. Moon is too subdued for that. But, its instrumental hinges on symphonic influence, as layers of strings drive the track forward. As theatrical as this production feels, Moon never builds to anything huge. It’s a relatively restrained pop song surrounded by ambitious flourishes. This contrast captivates, though a stronger melody would’ve sealed the deal.
Moon’s chorus is refreshingly developed, moving through more melodic shifts than expected. It’s a good match for BabySoul, but loses some oomph by not being a full group performance. A variance in tones and harmonies would have done the track a world of good. The performance here is pretty unadorned, which is typical when dealing with Korean OST-style ballads. I’m actually surprised that this wasn’t pitched as a soundtrack to one of the industry’s many dramas. It would have made a perfect fit.
I only listened to this song because I now follow your blog.
I am not a gg stan most of the time, way too aegyo for me.
This does nothing for me. Ok, it does something – it makes me appreciate the vocalists of Oh My Girl even more.
This is the vocal leader of Lovelyz?
breathy breathy breathy
breathing in the middle of lines (to support all the breathiness)
She can’t sing at all below, what, an A3?
Above an A4 becomes a strainy whine, hidden by adding a harmony (that old trick).
Or a quick diversion into a pop of head voice that lasts for a short beat.
OK, she can hold a tune, I will admit that.
As for the song itself, it is pleasant but average.
For comparison, real soprano vocalists:
Minseo. If you haven’t heard Minseo you are missing out on life. So clear and agile, her songs don’t need much musical adornment to cover anything, just her voice and real instruments playing independently.
Taeyeon – I am all ears. those effortless key shifts.
Taeyeon, also – Blue – recent release, for a while was higher on iTunes and views than whatever the lead single was. beautiful softness, musicality. And, you know the harmonies aren’t autotuned because they follow a different line – she is actually singing the harmony.
Luna – It was love – this is buried on a Zico solo album. beautiful clear soprano.
Soul is the leader of Lovelyz, but I wouldn’t call her the vocal leader. Including Soul, there are two other main vocalists in the group (Kei and Jin), and a lead vocalist who may as well be one (Sujeong).
When you have the chance, please listen to these. Kei (youtu.be/qECgUmt6as4), Jin (youtu.be/HJXmOugipmg), and Sujeong (youtu.be/DbJUMxtwrWE) have beautiful voices. While Oh My Girl do also, Lovelyz’s abilities aren’t anything to scoff at. They’re known as Livelyz for their live singing and pretty acapellas (youtu.be/jSLrl_s6rpo), too!
Acapella as a group – Holy cow wow! I had no idea! This is a good example of how the sum is greater than the parts. Also, whoever does their arrangements of the parts does a fantastic job.
Kei – very pleasant but average girl group lead vocalist. She does not sustain notes at the end (esp the verses, but also the Big note which is exactly where you would want to show off in a solo), lower range non existent (barely A3), and a bit nasal on the high notes starting around C5. Overall range is about A3 to E5, which is fine for leading most girl groups songs.
Jin – typical girl group vocalist, not bad not great. Lower range is all breath B3/A3 breathy, B4 is about the top, there was a brief D5 in there which was OK but she doesn’t revisit it. Nerves? Confidence?
Sujeong – she has a well-placed musicality, better than the typical gg member, which is also better than her voice. Whoever picked this song for her, picked very well. As a solo vocalist from a technical perspective, she’s just OK.
Ah! I’m so, so happy that you enjoyed the acapellas! If you’d like to hear a couple of other snippets (youtu.be/X9ZZCTvNB4o, youtu.be/jPu5WnlVDhMI’ve), I’ve totally got you covered!
Thank you for giving me such a detailed response of your take on the girls’ voices, too. I’m not too well-versed on the technical aspects of singing, so I’m fascinated by those who are. I also love learning new things!
If you don’t mind my asking, what do you think about this performance (youtu.be/Kugu4ivPX38) from Kei? I know that it isn’t perfect by any means, and I can tell that her emotions get the best of her at certain points, but I do think that it shows another side of her that may be missed otherwise.
Lastly, I appreciated your comment about Sujeong’s musicality. She’s my Lovelyz bias, and her husky tone definitely sticks with you. Her rendition (youtu.be/MbuwAA947ic) of Red Velvet’s Bad Boy is really, really pretty, I think!
Kei: Still pleasant, but nothing dramatically different to change my comments, just more examples. Listen to the beginning of the verses, they are almost all A#3-B3-C#4, how she really isn’t making a tone there but breathing it. A3 is not exactly great lower range. A good soprano should be down two more notes* to F3. Then she does pretty well between C4 and C5. The big note glissando (the one she slid up to was about C#5. There wasn’t much above that I remember from my listen. So that range is just about average kpop girl group vocal range, average timbre. Now, if you stan Lovelyz for their songs or vibe, great, fine by me.
SuJeong – similar to before. I was thinking of my comment yesterday when G-dragon song came up. He is another good example of someone who is very musical but can’t really sing. SuJeong knows how to interpret a song better than most.
Husky: I don’t think of average gg soprano vocalists as husky. Sujeong is actually just supporting more than typical, and not all breathiness and not artificially aegyo. For a fantastic husky example see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_-ZsCmsh4Y
(*except Sohyang who starts at A3 but then goes sky high)
(there are free apps btw for figuring out notes. My problem is usually I am at work, and I start humming into my phone, and everyone looks at me weird, and then I stop. Hence “about this or that note”.)
I more than understand that you’re way, way more educated than I am on the intricacies of this subject, but I think that I need to politely disagree with you on this one thing. In this world where hundreds of K-pop girl groups exist, I do think that Kei’s singing is of higher than average quality. Of course I wouldn’t think to put her on the same level as Taeyeon or Kim Boa, but just in general. We can agree to disagree, though!
I do love Lovelyz for their songs and vibe, but I also love them for their singing, as well as their ability to harmonize with each other so beautifully. Harmonization is a skill that they particularly excel at, in my opinion.
I could drone on about this all day, so I’ll just stop while I’m ahead, haha! Thank you for chatting with me for so long, and I truly appreciate your time. Even if you have disagreements, it’s refreshing to have an adult conversation in the age of petty Twitter exchanges. Let’s meet in another comment section, and keep humming into your phone proudly!