Review

Song Review: Kim Sung Kyu (Infinite) – I’m Cold

It’s been a long wait for a new Sungkyu comeback – almost three years, to be specific. And though we got a taste of his voice on this year’s Relay and OST track Beautiful, his first post-military album felt like it kept getting pushed back. Now in the doldrums of December, Sungkyu has officially returned with a collection of new material. It seems like blasphemy to neglect Nell songwriter Kim Jongwan from the project, as his touch has become so synonymous with Sungkyu’s solo sound. But, Woollim is keeping things in the family with frequent Infinite/Golden Child producer BLSSD.

If I’m being completely honest, I’m Cold isn’t really my kind of song. If it had been released by anyone else, I’d probably dismiss it out of hand. But, Sungkyu has been one of my favorite K-pop performers for as long as I can remember, with a vocal color unlike anyone else in the industry. That appeal buoys I’m Cold, even if the track itself feels a little underwhelming. The instrumental fuses modern r&b sensibilities with a bit of Sungkyu’s rock edge. It’s all wrapped in BLSSD’s crisp, atmospheric style. I love the touches of organ-like synth and strumming guitar. BLSSD’s soundscapes are always interesting, even if they may tend to be more gloomy than I would prefer.

It’s fun to hear Sungkyu tackle a song with more of an r&b flair. His voice is quite versatile, and it goes to interesting places here. Unfortunately, the melody is a little too repetitive and one-note to take full advantage of that skill. He imbues the chorus with more pathos and dynamism than expected, yet I’m Cold feels like it’s constantly spinning its wheels rather than organically growing to a catharsis. This is an issue I’ve had with some of BLSSD’s work in the past, so it’s hardly a surprise. Maybe I’m just unwilling to let go of the past, but this is missing a lot of the warmth and melodicism I’ve always loved about Sungkyu’s music.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.25

23 thoughts on “Song Review: Kim Sung Kyu (Infinite) – I’m Cold

  1. Yeah, I kept waiting for it to build to a climax or maybe some sick electric guitar but I was let down a bit. Still a good song though.

    Personally rooting for Climax as buried treasure.

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  2. I actually loved the song! but I get what you are saying , I Desperately want a Sweetune resurgence In Woollim!

    DRIPPIN! INFINITE! GOLDEN CHILD! LOVELYZ! ROCKET PUNCH!

    All of them have great potential to unlock something special in K-pop and Sweetune are the right producers for them! I Like BLSSD but Woollim’s classic style just offer something bigger!

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  3. I didn’t think I would like it as much but I really enjoy it so far. A bit of an unexpected sound from Sungkyu and definitely not his best, but the prechorus x chorus combination is keeping me glued to the song. Agree with the previous commenter, some electric guitar would’ve been so good!

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  4. Hmm. It’s pretty good, but Sungkyu deserves better. The album’s weird, too; not only are there sounds I wouldn’t have expected him to tackle, he also… doesn’t sound like himself on a couple of the tracks? I’m worried they’re producing his voice to have less character, which ought to be illegal!

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    • That’s nothing new honestly, a few of his past album tracks have subjected his voice to various vocal effects with which I intensely disagree with. In fact not only with his voice just all voices in general (👀BigHit)

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    • Also, is it me, or is it loud and heavy right smack in the middle ranges, and too soft in the bass and treble? (What treble?) On the computer audio and ipod built in speaker audio it sounds better (because they are crappier speakers), but on the current best earbuds, I feel like I would get a headache in a few listens.

      At least from the standard youtube feed. I checked with a few other tracks I listen to regularly, and its not the earbuds – with the kids borrowing them all the time sometimes I do have to check.

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      • I’m listening on near-field studio monitors. There is high presence, but mid range dominates this mix. The majority of the high range is in Kim Sung Kyu’s voice, they really sucked a lot out of high the guitar and synths, it’s still there just lowered thru multiband compression (compressing lows, lo-mid, high-mid, hi’s to individual degrees). the trap hi hats are tuned low, so they also aren’t too trebly.

        The 808s are surprising not super subby. Mid-range-y so the fundamental rootnote has presense. (this is a choice engineers have to make, huge low booms or note clarity- airing on the side of note clarity leads to mid heavy, low lows)

        American trap mixes put the synths incredible quiet against the 808, snare, and voice – so that those are super present. Since k-pop has a bigger emphasis on fuller arrangements, it sacrifices that trap-y mix dynamic and you end up with something like this.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for these details. It sounds to me to be very crowded right between low C3 and middle C4, starting at the very beginning with that resonant synth organ chord.

          You are right – just about the only treble is his voice, and even that isn’t very trebly, hovering around the G4 neighborhood and thereabouts for the chorus and a fair bit of the verses – except that one brief line in the chorus in falsetto where he pops to a C#5 at about 1:18-1:20 and again when it repeats. I think C#5 may just be about the highest note in the whole song including the instrumental, only a few little synth wisps in the background barely audible (on my current best earbuds) that may be higher.

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  5. Whoa I love this … I know there’s been a lot of “chill” k-pop solist trap this year but this does something really different for me. Since BLSSD’s work with Golden Child was my most listened to tracks of the year – I love hearing something that feels even more restrain. Sometimes with these trap solo artist tracks, I think I wouldn’t listen to the Western equivalent of it…but this I certainly would but it doesn’t exist. This style while being in line with trends has it’s own unique flair.

    Beautiful work Sungkyu.

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  6. I liked this more than I usually would with these kinds of songs and I feel like a part of that comes from missing Sunggyu’s voice. When I heard his voice, God I got shivers cos it’s been so long since his last album!

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  7. It’s surprising how much i liked this given that this style of song really isn’t my vibe. I think it sounds very simple but has a lot of feeling. Just by listening to it once the chorus is still resonating in my brain. I really am glad to hear his voice again 🙂

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