Song Review: Yubin – Silent Movie (ft. Yoon Mirae)

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.

 Hooks 6
 Production 7
 Longevity 6
 Bias 5

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7 thoughts on “Song Review: Yubin – Silent Movie (ft. Yoon Mirae)

  1. It’s not a bad song. If I had to describe it, I’d rob from it’s own lyrics:

    𝘔𝘺 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘶𝘵𝘦𝘥, 𝘮𝘢𝘺𝘣𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘧.
    𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘯’𝘵 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘪𝘵, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘴𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘴𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘭𝘦𝘧𝘵
    𝘛𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘐 𝘳𝘦𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘥, 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘴𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵
    𝘌𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘴𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘬 𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘮𝘶𝘵𝘦, 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘮𝘺 𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘺, 𝘵𝘰𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘮𝘶𝘵𝘦

    I love her raw voice. Her voice in this song spent a bit too long on the anvil as it comes across as over-tempered.

    P.S. I gave this song a 7 on your Crownsignal plug-in, but only because of the ethereal nature of the music, sans vocals. If I had rated based on the totality of the song, I would’ve given it a 6. I know, I’m weird that way.


    • The music, especially in the break and the coda. More specifically, the musicians. Sax solo! Is that an oboe? vibraphone? I wish they had better music to play as the song moves through all the usual chord changes, and then repeats it all a few too many times.
      Some walk by night, some fly by day, moonlighting strangers … the vibe I get off this song.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Love it! An hour of non-stop saxophone film noir music is perfect for this rainy Halloween day.

      I believe the vibraphone-like sound is synth. The sax sounds real, but could be a sample from somewhere else as it repeats the same ad libs each chorus. I believe that the oboe / cor anglais is and sounds real but also sampled. One wouldn’t pay an oboist to be in the studio for three or four notes. Listening again, it is a bummer that the coda / outro instrumental (which seems to be the chorus) is not on the single but only on the full video with the credits. The lyric fan-made version ends when the vocal ends.

      OT: My first encounter with the cor anglais is from the Dream Academy in the mid-80’s. “Life in a Northern Town” was the big single, but the whole album has the instrument played by Kate St. John. The soundtrack of my youth.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re probably right about the samples. I have 20 or so Sony Audio Loop Libraries (e.g., Bradley Fish, Paul Black, Steve Tibbet, Bill Laswell, etc.) and I could probably string together something similar to what you hear in Silent Movie.

        I with you on The Dream Academy. I had the “Life in a Northern Town” and as much as I loved it, I was completely floored by the cover of The Smiths, “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” they released a year later. The vocal version was incredible, but it was the instrumental version that I needed to replace from needle damage.

        A few years ago, I went on a whale watch that became one of my favorite life experiences. Whales aplenty and non-stop breaching. I took video and when I got home, I spliced the best parts and used the instrumental of “Please, Please, Please…) as the audio track. The two merged like a marriage made in heaven.

        Reference #1 (Full):
        Reference #2 (Inst.):


  2. The melody may be uninteresting but the instrumental is gorgeous, it’s a shame they didn’t include the instrumental as its own track like so many single releases do.

    I like Yubin, her solo output so far has been pretty strong but too sparse for my tastes. If she could pick up the pace or at least drop a mini-album instead of just some singles she’d really be one to watch.


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