Song Review: Kim Sejeong – Warning (ft. lIlBOI)

Kim Sejeong - WarningSince her solo debut, Kim Sejeong has become synonymous with ballads. But now that Gugudan is no more, it makes sense that she would expand her palette and maybe even absorb some of her former group’s charms. New single Warning isn’t exactly adventurous, but it injects a welcome variety to her music, delivering the optimistic bounce that tends to be common in K-pop this time of year.

Warning is built upon a catchy piano riff, giving the track a different appeal from the synth-heavy music we usually hear these days. And despite never cresting at a particularly high energy, the instrumental has a lot of life to it. Rhythm guitar lends Warning a subtle grooviness, and the percussion has a very old-school sound. Better yet, the song builds as it goes on, bringing in hand claps and some clever sound effects. It’s a pleasant head-nodder, for sure.

Sejeong makes for a solid conduit, her bright vocals adding to the buoyant nature of the track. lIlBOI’s sing-song rap verse is an odd inclusion, but I guess it gives the song another layer of texture. Still, Warning is at its best when it focuses on Sejeong herself, wrapping her voice in as much cheerful ornamentation as possible. There’s a surprisingly robust supply of hooks here, making Warning more complex than it first seems. The interplay between the chirpy pre-chorus and refined, synth-dripped chorus is quite satisfying, and makes for a diversely structured centerpiece that will likely charm listeners throughout the remainder of spring.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

9 thoughts on “Song Review: Kim Sejeong – Warning (ft. lIlBOI)

  1. I like this song a lot, and I have no good reasons why. Its not quite a hot mess, not quite sing song or aegyo or kitchen sink. Its got cheerleader hey’s, its got the drm machine going, and rolling hats (missed them? yes they are there). It uses way to many settings on the synth, too many boops and beeps, as well as an entire side of a sound effects album. Fireworks? yes, lets slip those in somewhere. Sci Fi shimmer too, old telephone, glockenspiel, check check check. Was there a choo choo train? Well if there wasn’t maybe it could have added a choo choo train. Maybe its that it packs all these sounds in and somehow still sounds normal enough. Maybe they put all these in on a dare.

    Also, Sejeong herself, there is my reason. Cutie pie, sings like a bird, and she is still somehow only 24 years old. Sejeong herself takes a song like this and sings the shit out it and makes it work.

    Whoever the rapper is does a good GD impression. (Where the hell is GD these days?)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s a good song from a talented artist. There’s absolutely nothing I should be able to complain about; well, other than the male guest star (lilboi) doesn’t fully click with me. But……..

    It doesn’t sound like Sejeong. I love her voice. It has a depth and a breathiness even when used in up tempo songs. In “Warning”, it has moments where it’s heavily processed and sounds like she’s trying to sing outside her comfort zone. To me, that’s like painting a Degas over a Renoir. You may like the end result, but something was lost.

    I don’t know. I’m going through a phase where I’m beginning to feel the entire industry is losing individuality. The concept of “signature sound” seems to be fading from this genre. Too many “Oh, that worked for this other group so let’s tap that!” offerings. I’m all for artists developing new sounds, but I think some of it is forced evolution with a tinge of unnatural selection.

    Just ignore me; I’m in a funk. ..but not the good kind.

    P.S. There’s this.. ..sound.. ..going on with a couple of lines that’s driving me nuts. Reminding me of another song from a couple of decades ago. I may post a reply if I figure it out.


    • You know what.. ..I’m a curmudgeony dick sometimes. My moods shouldn’t impact my assessment of a piece. “Warning” is a good song. I hope it charts well for Sejeong. She deserves the laurels. I’m going away now.


    • Its missing her high high register which no one else can do like SeJeong.

      There are moments which sound like an old Twice song, like the prechorus in the 0:33 – 0:52 gives me memories of the Ooh-Aah – Cheer Up era even though it isn’t overtly like either.

      Anyway, I know what you mean about individuality. Moods. Phases. Rants.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There is also one single line in that prechorus that is identical to one line inn the Day6 :Days Gone By”, but I believe it is coincidental as it is a simple descending line. (I only sang the shit out of the Day6 song when it came out. Its the best 80’s throwback ever in kpop imho.)
        That line
        0:37 here
        0:39 in Day6

        Liked by 1 person

      • @1:03, the second word in the first line “nopi” and the first word in the second line “meolli” have a low synth pad layered underneath. This repeats @2:09 and @3:02. I know it’s a minor detail, but it is resonating with me. Songs will imprint on me for a myriad of reasons. There’s a song from a couple of decades ago that made a big impact on me using a similar synth in the same way.. ..and.. ..I can’t remember the song. AAAARGH!


  3. To Sejeong’s credit, most of the songs on “I’m” are worth picking up the full mini-album. While I may not have fully appreciated her efforts with “Warning”, she more than made up for it with “Teddy Bear” and “Let’s Go Home” where I’m getting a comfortable Ivy “Undertow” or Dido “Here With Me” vibe; which works for me.

    Ref #1(TB):

    Ref #2(LGH):

    Ref (Ivy):

    Ref (Dido):


  4. I have just learned that the rapper’s name is Lil Boi, ell eye ell, in an obscure font so I had several ideas there for a while. Its probably pronounced Leel, just to sound french or something.


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