Review

Song Review: Lee Hi – No One (ft. B.I)

It’s been over three years since Lee Hi’s last comeback, so the fact that I’m writing about her at all feels like a minor miracle. But, this long hiatus carries with it a very real danger. The longer fans wait, the higher expectations rise. After three years, the desire for a momentous, iconic song only becomes more palpable. With excellent tracks like Breathe and Rose, Hi is definitely up to the task. However, new single No One (누구 없소) feels like a sigh when we’re craving an exclamation.

Like the solo debut from BLACKPINK’s Jennie, No One hinges too strongly on a lackluster drop, wasting Lee Hi’s most valuable asset: those gorgeous vocals. The song’s opening verse feels destined for something greater. It’s not a galvanizing (or unique) melody, but it employs a gradual build that should have been capitalized on. Instead, No One collapses into a whimper as an inert instrumental loop takes precedence. Hi ornaments this drop with a melodic refrain, but it feels oddly muddled.

Surprisingly, the one moment that No One’s instrumental truly comes alive isn’t during Lee Hi’s verse at all. iKON’s B.I injects the track’s mid-section with a blast of hip-hop. He’s a fine feature, but is outdone by playful production that incorporates accordion-like synth to exciting effect. If the entire track had this same swagger, No One might have been able to draw more fully on Hi’s charisma. Instead, she’s swimming upstream, through a forgettable blend of reggae-lite percussion and recycled instrumental flourishes. It’s nice to have her back, but this wasn’t worth a three year wait.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 7

~

12 thoughts on “Song Review: Lee Hi – No One (ft. B.I)

  1. I thought it was going to be Lee Hi’s “Don’t Be Shy” moment, but then… it wasn’t. Either way I was really feeling the verses until they didn’t… lead to much? This could grow on me – as many YG productions do – but as of now I’m not really sure. I am pleasantly surprised at B.I’s feature being probably the best part of the song here, though. It’s not very often that the token rap verse shines so well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a huge fan of voices with a highly distinctive timbre (e.g., Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson, Björk, Macy Gray, etc.) so I’m naturally a Lee Hi fanboi. I want to like this soooo much, but I can’t. I’m grateful for anything I can get from her, but this isn’t the angel that gave us this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vik10d__J0w

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      • In that same episode (of the YouTube video I linked to) was an equally impressive performance by Lee Suhyun (AKMU). The collaboration between Hi and Suhyun (HI SUHYUN – I’m Different) was a fun mix of the two. Miss Lee also collaborated with another “unique voice” in the kpop-sphere, Park Bom. “BOM&HI – All I Want For Christmas” is one of my all-time faves. I’m sure you are aware of both of these songs, but others may not be.

        Reference:
        HI SUHYUN – I’m Different: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zwTaT0JeOY
        BOM&HI – All I Want For Christmas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvI89r8Tt9s

        P.S. If my linking to YouTube is a problem, then please tell me.

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        • Yeah, I love that Hi Suhyun song. It’s a shame they never followed it up.

          And no problem with the youtube links. Sometimes wordpress asks me to moderate the comments when they have links, though, so don’t be surprised if your comment doesn’t get posted right away.

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          • BTW, I purchased entire 24°C mini-album off the Google Play store. Not because of the title track but for the B-sides “No Way (Feat. G.Soul)” and “Love Is Over”. No Way is.. ..good as a Lee Hi offering, but Love Is Over really snared me. I’m not usually one for ballads but give me Lee Hi ala smooth jazz any day of the week, please. {listening to it as I write this and there’s a big smile on my face}

            “Love Is Over” link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gdA5LoGkBg

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  3. It sounds like a KARD leftover song.

    I want this song to be better. It isn’t bad, but it could be better. For a vocalist, picking a song that ranges from about A to A, and without any creative interpretation of the melody … OK I will say it I want Lee Hi to be a better musician. She could be so much better. But this song and this performance is meh. Honestly, much lesser vocalists could have done as good of a job as she has on this song.

    I want to hear a whole album like the XI song of Code Kunst with Lee Hi.
    I want to hear the 21st century kpop version of Dusty in Memphis from Lee Hi.
    Alas, that is not happening not this year.

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    • She’s the epitome of the phrase “birds shouldn’t be kept in cages”. Letting her waste away in a dungeon during her prime years is a sin. I remember thinking how clever Louis Armstrong was when he sang the line, “What did I do, to be so black and blue”. Maybe one day we’ll get an album from Miss Lee where she’ll look back on her time at YG and she’ll name it “Hi and Low”.

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