Hong Jinyoung’s new music often seems to arrive as we’re moving into spring, and she’s just the right person to soundtrack that transition. As K-pop’s leading purveyor of trot crossover, her singles are usually upbeat and enthusiastic – two qualities we could certainly use right now. Last year’s Love Tonight veered in a more straightforward dance-pop direction with great success. New single Love Is Like A Petal (사랑은 꽃잎처럼) takes us into trot tango territory, a triple “T” threat if ever there was one!
It’s refreshing to hear Jinyoung explore new sounds, but Petal’s assets are the same that have always made her music enjoyable. She’s an intensely likable performer, generous in her vocal style and rich with personality. You know what you’re going to get from a Hong Jinyoung track, but the results rarely disappoint.
With that said, I’d place Petal firmly in the middle of her catalog. It’s not as instantly hooky as some of her best work, and doesn’t draw strongly on the trot affectations that have made her such a star. Yet, the instrumental’s theatrical energy feels especially potent during these times of trap-rap and mumbled r&b. Petal has a widescreen, earnest appeal that fits Jinyoung well. Its tango elements limit the song’s structure somewhat, and I think it would have been better off with the kind of iconic chorus that characterized past singles like Love Battery or Thumb Up. Instead, the verses and chorus kind of run together, cresting on a series of extended notes that are dramatic and well-performed, yet simultaneously lack a sense of immediacy.
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I think it is a helluva lot of fun. Thank you, Jinyoung for once again lifting our spirits.
I’ve never been able to truly embrace trot and it’s not because there’s anything wrong with it; it just doesn’t click with me. There are other genres that fall into this pit. Just as trot is innate to Korea, country music is endemic to my homeland. While I can appreciate certain country artists and songs, the majority of it doesn’t register with me. Other genre that I have trouble with are polka, some periods of classical music, yodeling, and styles of music that rely heavily on certain instruments such as bagpipes, accordions, glass armonica, et al.
All of that aside.. ..this song is a nice take on the genre. 😀
I can’t do country either, especially the current hat boots pickup truck style of country.
I live in Bluegrass country though, sometimes called “Roots” or “Back Porch” music around these parts. There are times when my favorites in kpop almost sound bluegrass influenced. Roy Kim in particular comes to mind. He went to a posh boarding school up in the mountains in Asheville NC and busked on the streets, so his songs like “Love Love Love” are bathed in that sound. The recent AkMu album also has songs that are only a banjo or fiddle away from passing as bluegrass, such as “A Fish in the water” and “Freedom”.
Back to trot – I can do trot, in small love battery doses.