Color me surprised to see new music from Secret’s Song Ji-eun. There was a time when she and her group were ruling K-pop charts, but her work has suffered from a long hiatus. Other than a few errant tracks here and there, it’s been almost four years since the last Ji-eun mini album. New single MIL (Make It Love) drops rather unceremoniously, without the promotion or hype you’d expect from an artist of her standing.
Freed from the restraints of downright abusive agency TS Entertainment, Dream is Ji-eun’s first album as part of new agency Haewadal. Unfortunately, it’s a rather faceless affair, lacking the personality and energy of past hits like 25 and Going Crazy. Instead, MIL draws on trends that are several years too old, betting its fortunes on reheated tropical pop. There’s nothing unpleasant or unpolished about the track, but its generic construction is utterly forgettable.
On the plus side, it’s a treat to hear Song Ji-eun’s light vocal tone again. She’s always had a crystal-like pureness to her voice, and that quality hasn’t faded with time. Its’s just a shame that MIL doesn’t give her more to do. She sounds great during the chorus, but it’s not much of a hook. Trap beats sputter halfheartedly as the tropical synth bops along, failing to forge a unique sound palette. In lieu of interesting production, MIL really needed a killer melody. Sadly, the song itself just feels lazy, going through the motions rather than attempting to take any daring turns. It’s not the “welcome back” Ji-eun deserved.
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This sounds like every girl group song out there today, as sung by a soloist instead of a group. The production is very light weight, as in if I didn’t have my earbuds on channeling the song directly into my ears, would I even hear it well at all? The producers could have at least punched up her main vocal up in the mix and doubled the low bass line, and done her a favor.