There was a time when Bae Suzy’s presence felt inescapable in K-pop. As a member of girl group Miss A and a very popular actress, her career straddled multiple facets of the Korean entertainment industry, earning her the title of “The Nation’s First Love.” She’s still a notable presence in dramas, but it’s been four years since Suzy last released music. New single Satellite breaks that dry spell in a surprising way.
Suzy’s solo work has always felt chameleon-like, flirting between genres without finding one that really stuck. I’m partial to her 2017 single Yes No Maybe, which reminds me a bit of my favorite pop star, Janet Jackson. Since then, Suzy’s music has trended toward coffee shop sounds. Satellite would also make a fine soundtrack for sipping coffee, but it has an alt-rock edge that helps it stick out. Recorded largely in English, the song feels lifted right from the 90’s. Its grungy aesthetic is instantly nostalgic.
Suzy’s vocals take on a soft, slurred presence that adds to Satellite’s ambient appeal. Taken alongside the instrumental, this pairing results in a sound that’s at once ethereal and impenetrable. Gritty guitar drives things forward, ornamented by wispy synth and soft – almost lo-fi – percussion. It’s not a style I go out of my way to seek out, but I appreciate Satellite’s desire to do something a little different. More than anything, I picture this song as an engaging OST for a moody, angst-filled drama. It does a remarkable job conjuring those sort of images.