Last year, Yubin was at the forefront of K-pop’s city pop revival, releasing a pair of retro songs that found a small – but passionate – audience. Before the unveiling of new single Silent Movie (무성영화), she hinted that the song would take a more subdued approach. If you’re anything like me, “subdued” is not the word you want to hear when it comes to K-pop. It conjures thoughts of the Korean digital charts, stuffed to the brim with ballads and coffeehouse fare.
Unfortunately, Silent Movie fits right within this framework. This is despite the presence of legendary rapper/vocalist Yoon Mirae on the chorus. She adds some gravitas to the track, but Movie is already a pretty serious affair. The song grooves on a jazzy, old-school instrumental, enlisting muted brass and atmospheric keys to give the mid-tempo beat a comfortable warmth. It’s all very pleasant and accomplished, but does very little for me. Then again, I’m not the target market for this particular genre. I gravitate toward songs with explosive dynamics and clear, exhilarating peaks.
Like so many of Korea’s musical obsessions, Silent Movie is more about vibe and sentiment than exciting song construction. The verses offer a restrained melody that occasionally dips into more of a hip-hop flow. The chorus ups the intensity a bit, but remains quite mellow and calming. Added together, this approach feels a little inconsequential — something you’d nod your head to in the moment but forget quickly after. This is a shame, given the exciting path that Yubin was beginning to carve with Lady and Thank U Soooo Much.
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