Baek Yerin’s long-awaited album, Our Love is Great, dropped this month. Led by the gentle, self-reflective ballad Maybe it’s Not Our Fault, it’s an album that has cemented Baek Yerin as soloist with a defined voice, direction and style.
Yerin, one half of 15& with Park Jimin, composed her first album in two years together with producer Cloud. Maybe It’s Not Our Fault achieved a real-time all-kill and hit several rooftops just after debut.
Our Love is Great is an album that you love or you hate. It’s an undeniably Korean musical palette. It trundles at a middling pace: never going faster than it needs to. Yerin leads it with soft-toned, lofty vocals.
But all the same, there’s something gritty about it. Whether it’s the thick earthiness of her voice or the details that deepen the instrumentals, there’s something about this album that sticks to the ear. A shimmer or etherealness.
It’s an easy listen. Although, that’s probably its biggest weakness too. This is an album that fits right within the ‘coffee-shop soundtrack’ trope. Where the gentle approach to music tips over into bland, background murmurings.
But the magic of Our Love is Great is that, every once in a while, there’s a jolt that forces the listener out of that headspace. In the album’s introductory track, Merry and the Witch’s Flower, it’s the wind chimes that frame it. It’s the way that Dear My Blue is sung in an almost disjointed theatre musical style. Or how Yerin invites you to sing along with her to the reggae beat of the album’s namesake: Our Love is Great.
It’s an album that feels genuine, with no pretences. As if Yerin woke up one day and decided to record an album in one sitting. That’s what makes it so charming, so atmospheric. It’s music simplified right down to the listening experience.
Although it’s not revolutionary in big waves, it subverts a lot of misconceptions about conventional soloist idol discographies. Our Love is Great makes several small statements about emotional honesty in music – packaged prettily for easy consumption.