How to review a song like Summer Night (여름밤)? I deliberately steer away from this kind of subdued acoustic-pop because there’s just not much to write about it. Yes, this is a song. Yes, it has some vocals and a melody and even some instruments. And yet, I come away from Yoona’s new single feeling absolutely nothing.
To be fair, none of Yoona’s solo work has interested me. She’s part of one of K-pop’s most iconic groups (Girls’ Generation), but without the high-octane, sugar-coated pop we’re used to, her music is just another example of sound-alike coffee-shop fare. Paired with male soloist 20 Years of Age (for added indie cred!), Yoona offers a pleasant, toe-tapping performance that sets its ambitions low. She has an enjoyably light tone, which matches Summer Night’s gentle instrumental. But without any aim beyond innocuous warbling, there’s little to keep listeners coming back.
During the summer of 2014, After School’s Raina and rapper San E scored a major hit in Korea with the song A Midsummer Night’s Sweetness. Summer Night reminds me of that track, giving off the same hushed, campfire-at-sunset vibe. The difference here is in the melody and execution. Night never finds an addictive hook, centering instead around an airy refrain that feels ripped from so many other tracks of this nature. And while the feature from 20 Years of Age is welcome (and the two sound great together), more playful interplay between their voices would have made for a potentially engaging arrangement.