Monday, August 15th, 2016

Soobin Hoàng Sơn – Lalala

Let’s check back in on Vietnam…


Katie Gill: The rise and fall and possible rise again of the slow jam is interesting. Nowadays, it’s gotten to the point where a song that’s just sexy can be listed on a round-up describing the top 100 slow jams: shout out to that list that called Selena Gomez’s “Good For You” a slow jam, no you’re wrong, stop that, it’s just sexy. Thankfully, this one’s both: something sexy as all get-out but also a slow jam perfect for getting your groove on, whether you want to interpret that as a euphemism or not. The actual “lalala” chorus is a bit weak but those amazingly sexy verses more than make up for it.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: Vietnamese R&B that seems to have taken serious cues from Crush and the Korean scene, but Soobin’s breezy delivery and captivating aqueous synths are definitely his own. And the beat is spacious enough to support it all, including that intense “LALALA” keyboard riff.  

Will Adams: Lush, space-filling R&B production with a pleasant, smooth vocal, but the “My Boo” chord progression has more than seen diminishing returns over the past few years.

Alfred Soto: I recommend the opening — harp, finger snaps, strategic use of space — to The Weeknd. When the chorus hook hits, the Vietnamese singer knows how much of his voice to lavish on it. He even earns the surprise ending.

Cassy Gress: There’s stylistic weirdness here that I think ruins the coldness of the rest of this dry breakup song, from the oddly robotic “la la la la la” to the almost random, heavily processed melisma scattered throughout.

Jessica Doyle: His voice is calm and controlled, carefully marking a path and then following it again even as I’ve been conditioned to expect a rap break, a show-stopping wail, or a key change (if not all three). It fits the mood, and the restraint is a nice change of pace; but it does mean the background warps have to do all the emotional heavy lifting.

Jonathan Bradley: In its chilled smoothness and its lightly treated vocals, “Lalala” is a bit of a throwback to the R&B of the late ’00s; I could imagine The-Dream or a — necessarily subdued — T-Pain sliding in for a remix. Soobin is refined than either of those two, though: his presence more sophisticated, his poise gentlemanly. That elevates what could end up an arrangement that could be too relaxed, and so too does the productions rather tasteful decorative touches: water drops, light percussion runs, and an oddly complementary sine-wave synth feature that shimmers candy-bright.

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: A skittish ballad turned modern with a dash of digital trickery and on-trend production: a glossy way to say how much break-ups suck, but heartache (like everything else) could do with being a little bit cooler.

Patrick St. Michel: All of the digi-twisted voices in the background and bright synthesizer sounds wonderful — audio candy — but “Lalala” elevates them by making each element work alongside the song’s central theme of long gone love. This isn’t a pop song simply copping ideas from the “future bass” scene — or, like, heard a Cashmere Cat song and though, “sure why not” — but one where the  touches underline the sadness at the core. Voices stumble over one another trying to find something, before turning into a digital string of nonsensical syllables. As bright as this one can sound, it ultimately serves to illuminate the hurt. Nothing is wasted, even the space.

Reader average: [7] (2 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

4 Responses to “Soobin Hoàng Sơn – Lalala”

  1. Shout out to the second Vietnamese song reviewed on here. I’m Vietnamese, and the R&B scene here is more or less under-developed, with very few notables scattered throughout the decade. The true highlight of this year is “C?n M?a Hi?u K?” (The Curious Rain) from Mew Amazing, MastaL and Katzilla. One of the best productions I’ve heard in any R&B songs this year, though the vocals let it down.

  2. I think it’s our third, after 365 and H? Ng?c Hà (who seems to have retrospectively fallen foul of out interface turning certain characters into ?s). We may have another one sooner than later!

  3. Ha, it can’t even cope with them in my comment in fact :(

  4. I hate that any word with diacritic is distorted :( Gotta say “Lalala” is pretty darn good because Touliver (the producer of this song) is often hit-and-miss.