Song Review: Roy Kim – Linger On

Once a titan of the K-ballad scene, Roy Kim got caught up in the wide-reaching Burning Sun scandal. And though investigations eventually cleared his name, the damage had already been done. The K-pop industry prizes image above all else, and once that’s been tarnished it’s hard for an artist to claw their way back. Linger On (살아가는 거야) marks a stark, pensive comeback for Kim – his last before impending military enlistment.

Roy Kim’s vocals can make even the slightest of material sound important and affecting. Still, I’ll be forever irritated that – after his first mini album – his music became so ballad-centric. Sure, he delivers them well, but the quirkier pop of tracks like Bom Bom Bom and Love Love Love felt like a more idiosyncratic match. Still, given the circumstances I didn’t exactly expect him to come out with some big toe-tapping moment.

Instead, Linger On is musical catharsis, so clearly tied to this moment in his career that it’s hard to separate from the artist himself. This sense of honesty is refreshing, even though the song itself is standard ballad 101. The chorus surges with a weighty resonance, while the rest of the track rarely raises above what I would call “hushed.” The guitar-and-strings arrangement is par for the course for these kind of OST-sounding ballads, though a little twang here and there gives it a rootsier appeal. As farewell singles go, this is spot-on. It’s not one of my go-to sub-genres of K-pop, but I can appreciate the sentiment and emotion behind it.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!


3 thoughts on “Song Review: Roy Kim – Linger On

  1. This is one of my favorite tracks by him. Like you said, he can make anything sound great but to me, his songs are rarely only carried by his voice. I actually consider him a great lyricist. I’m sad he’s going away for almost 2 years, nobody does ballads like him.


  2. As someone who sings along to everything, Roy Kim songs are usually harder to sing than they seem at first and harder than most OST because they have a wider range. As a rare baritone in an industry filled with tenors, he always starts lower than most. This one, the verses dip down to about D3 / C3. Then the bridge has higher bits two octaves up to about D5 and C5, because all the tenors and sopranos and the Korean ear and karaoke parlors are expecting that.

    Singers and songs should have at least 2 octave ranges, but in practice there aren’t as many >=2 octave songs as there should be. Park Hyo Shin. Gaho. Some Kyuhyun songs. Even Lee Eun Mi classic “I have a lover” is technically two octaves low E to high E, but in practice no one hits that low E well at all, even Lee Eun Mi herself.

    I think this song is great. Cathartic. It is equal with “The Hardest Part” from two years ago. I am going to play this one a lot.

    For the other stuff, we shall see what happens on the Gaon, this song and two years hence after military service. We all know that there are the actual charts, and there are all the kpop sites with the commentators, and they are not the same thing. I mean, Gaho has been in the top 10 for months now, and even Nick ignores him. (nudge nudge) (I would start with “A Song for you”. “Stay here” is my favorite.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes to everything you said!! People always forget Roy Kim’s songs are wider than they seem.

      To add to the 2+ octave list, a few tracks from IU, Younha, Paul Kim (another baritone who does the C3-C5 in Me After You), and Day6 make the cut. In all honesty, a two-octave range in *one* song is pretty darn tough though.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.