We may want to deny it, but so much of our own personal music taste spawns from formative experiences – the genres and styles you were exposed to as a kid or young adult. For me, a piece of that puzzle comes via The Lion King’s Circle of Life. I will always love a hearty chant and big, resounding percussion. It’s basically fused into my DNA. So, when I heard the teasers for YooA’s solo debut, I was intrigued.
As the first member of Oh My Girl to go solo, YooA has so much to offer. She’s a bundle of charisma, with a well-rounded set of skills as a performer. And, I can’t express how refreshing it is to hear her tackle a track that doesn’t just regurgitate the same sounds everyone else is peddling this year. With Bon Voyage (숲의 아이), she’s dug out her old Deep Forest cds (another formative experience for me) and hitched a ride out to the glens of Korea to reconvene with nature.
Visually, Bon Voyage almost feels like a nod to BoA’s immortal Atlantis Princess, though the actual song has very different charms. It’s the rare K-pop single that takes its time, placing just as much emphasis on silence and space as it does hooks and drops. The percolating synth that underpins the verses is minimalist but effective, shining ample spotlight on YooA’s bright, clear vocals. Most of the production drops out for the pre-chorus and we’re left hanging in the air for a longer-than-expected segment. This provides a great springboard for Bon Voyage’s chant-heavy chorus, which resounds with a robust delivery that makes for a satisfying centerpiece. I think a secondary chorus would have sent the track into the stratosphere (and given YooA more to do), but I’m utterly charmed by the choices made here. There’s no point in making a solo debut unless you’re going to do something different, and Bon Voyage arrives with a character all its own.