I debated whether to feature this song as a “buried treasure” or a full single, since it was only given a pre-release choreography video. But, regardless of how you classify it, Yesterday (안무 영상) deserves attention. Yukika’s entire album is consistent in its retro sound and vision, even going so far as to include themed interludes to string the songs together. To my ears, Yesterday is the best thing on it, even if it took a few listens for the song to fully reveal its greatness.
Although I enjoy city pop as a genre, one of my issues with the style is that it usually bops along pleasantly rather than build to any dynamic peaks. However, Yesterday smartly includes a mini-climax each time its pre-chorus hits. I’m in love the with vocal blend during this point. It’s soulful and overpowering and a real unexpected jolt just when the song needs it. This goes to show how important and impactful a good vocal arrangement can be when used effectively.
The rest of Yesterday is no slouch, either. Its instrumental has a nice retro bounce, tiptoeing along a gorgeous synth texture while allowing for empty space to give a real sense of spontaneity and funk. I’m utterly convinced by Yukika’s invitation to dance just before the song’s guitar-fueled breakdown, and the impulsiveness of the melody helps frame that sense of liveliness. Yet, Yesterday isn’t some unstructured exercise in mood. Its repeated return to the “I believe in yesterday” refrain is inspired, and gives the track a needed through-line. I’m loving all of the retro 80’s influence K-pop has been drawing from lately, and Yesterday is one of the finest examples.
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