Monday, August 7th, 2017

JinSoul – Singing in the Rain

We’re happy again…

Mo Kim: The LOONA (formerly LOO??) project, which promises to reveal twelve “girls of the month” through a series of themed solos and units before debuting the entire group, showcases the conceptual ambition and everything-at-the-wall spirit of K-pop at its best. (Few groups would justify throwing off a wintry tango, a throwback to ’90s forebearers S.E.S. and a sultry electro-pop bop by writing elaborate science fiction connecting all of them in each subsequent video’s YouTube description.) But Blockberry Creative Writing wouldn’t be able to pull this off without the help of the girls, who have thus far demonstrated an uncanny ability to immerse themselves in any concept they’ve been thrown into. “Singing In The Rain” is no exception: JinSoul acquits herself amidst a soundscape harsh and gorgeous in equal measure, half sawtooth synths and galloping percussion and half pianos that sparkle like the stars she sings of “swallowing up.” If at times it feels like she gets swallowed by the instrumental, that may be the thrill of the song and the commitment it asks of us; try to hold her gaze at the end of the video, as she emerges completely drenched yet somehow completely herself.

Micha Cavaseno: The LOONA group/collective/team are a mysterious lot. If you take them at face value, they’re an ever-expanding K-Pop group on a journey who have a discography made of solo material ranging from ballads, electro-pop jams, IU-influenced R&B numbers and showtunesy bits. Also, apparently one of them’s a robot or something. Whatever. “Singing in the Rain” is the most violently industrial of all the tunes coming out of this alternate universe. If I was honest about this song, I’d point out how lame the rapped second verse feels, or the inconsistent pre-chorus builds tend to detract from how effective a song can be. But I would be lying to myself if I didn’t tell you about how that galloping beat sounds like you’re ready to get your chest caved in by a kick from the horse in the Lloyds Bank advertisements. Or how that drop managed to snatch the hard drive where my Hyetal and Hudson Mohawke radio rips from 2011 lie dormant and fling it into the air to shoot it with a cow puncher. Sometimes despite the illogical bits, a song just works, y’know?

Ryo Miyauchi: Fake-deep lyrical touches, high-budget art-house MVs, exhausting year-long promo — all those extra layers disappears for a second once that winding future-house drop kicks in. The producers responsible for one of the year’s best electro glitch is Caesar & Loui of “Red Flavor” fame, whose vocal-twisting once again accents an already-impeccable beat. But not to forget JinSoul, who twirls the fine beat drop around her finger, guiding its glide via the chorus.

Tim de Reuse: In isolation any fifteen-second clip of this would be impressive on a technical level, but to get through the full three-and-a-half minute experience, your ears must contend with scattered jam sessions on pots and pans, wobbly hissing saw waves, tonally adventurous chord progressions, vocal takes getting layered and stereo-widened and digitally distorted: flourish on top of flourish on top of flourish. Even in its few slower sections it refuses to let up, starting each line of lyrics before the last has finished. The effect is less exhilarating than it is exhausting: a conveyor belt of ideas, each presented in quick succession and not returned to, all in unrelenting double-time so that there’s barely an opportunity to appreciate the audacity of each individual section before we’ve been rushed off somewhere else. Props for the well-produced maximalism, I guess, but listening to it just makes me ache for a home-cooked goddamn I – IV – V – I.

Dorian Sinclair: My favourite moment of “Singing in the Rain” comes right at the end of the video, when the music ends and we’re left with the sound of birds and gentle rainfall. If that sounds backhanded, it’s not meant to — I just appreciate the suddenness with which the driving rhythm of the three preceding minutes drops away, much like an actual summer rainstorm. It’s a fine grace note on an exhilarating song.

Will Rivitz: K-pop meets Majestic Casual? Sign me up.

Alfred Soto: A rather tepid K-pop thumper, dependent on a sawtooth synth and not helped by the rap.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Blockberry Creative are pumping at least 10 billion won into the 18-month pre-debut promotion of LOONA, a 12-member (and three-subunit) girl group whose Korean name translates to “Girl of the Month.” If this isn’t a sign that the label’s dead serious about the project, take a look at the music video for “Singing in the Rain.” They hired Digipedi to craft a product that features all the hallmarks of a top-tier K-pop video — Wong Kar-wai pastel lighting, post-Flavin fluorescent light set pieces, and enigmatic symbolism that you’d expect from SM’s artsier side. Are we to believe that LOONA could duke it out with the best of them? If “Singing in the Rain” is anything to go by, it’s an emphatic yes. The song starts off with a triumphant gallop before mutating into a post-dubstep swirl and, as with “Red Flavor,” Caesar & Loui pack in enough bells and whistles to make sure the song’s physicality is always palpable. The most amusing detail is a sound akin to a Koopa shell bouncing off a pipe in Super Mario Bros. It’s carefully considered, and used to accent JinSoul’s imperial side. But JinSoul isn’t trying to come off fierce for no reason; she’s expressing her desire for a night with someone that’ll rival the Hollywood glamour of the song’s title. The ecstasy she eventually finds only further fuels her hunger, and you can sense it everywhere in the song. You feel it in the pounding drums, but it’s also in the soft piano melody, the melismatic coos, the cry to be held all night. It’s omnipresent in the video, too. Choreographer HG Kim’s metal rod workout? That’s a sign of her indomitable spirit in all this. The juxtaposition between JinSoul cautiously running in a school uniform and then stomping on water with a leather choker harness on? That’s her shedding off any timidity. The shot of JinSoul floating in the air while wearing a royal blue dress? That’s the ineffable bliss of being in love. That particular image is graphically matched with a blue fish that she’d been holding in a bag, and it’s the exact moment where everything comes together. It can be easy to feel like one of the numerous goldfish in the video: average, ordinary, unremarkable. But sometimes, being loved by someone can lift you up and make those thoughts feel like the furthest thing from the truth. So take your shoes off and throw them in the lake; soon, you’ll be singing in the rain.

Reader average: [6.92] (14 votes)

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

22 Responses to “JinSoul – Singing in the Rain”

  1. Yeah I really really want to like, kiss the arranger on “Let Me In” b/c jfc but this might be my 2nd fave in the LOONA output.

    Like I said I basically kind of comprehend all of Al & Tim’s complaints (though the sawtooth is honestly not nearly so omnipresent in general anymore to the point I feel like its reintroduction is novel enough). If anything though as I’m pondering the relentlessness of the structure it kind of benefits from not having a conventional catch & release in that its stops rarely feel like a proper relief. It becomes weirdly spiral-like tension.

    GRANTED WISHED I’D THOUGHT OF STUFF LIKE THAT EARLIER, BUT OH WELL. Also should’ve been more sincere and given this an 8 but w/e w/e.

  2. Small correction for Joshua’s blurb. Despite the predebut project being 18 months long, the final lineup will be 12 members.

  3. This and Let Me In are definitely the best LOONA tracks.

  4. @llehuty, can’t believe I didn’t catch that, thanks for pointing it out

  5. my favourites are definitely Everyday I Love You and Eclipse. Let Me In and I’ll Be There are up there too

    this one’s decent, but the melody never quite hooks me despite the really delightful production

  6. Gotta go with ViViD as mine, love that chorus

  7. Member number now corrected, thanks llehuty

  8. Eclipse, Let Me In, and this are all top-tier. Love Cherry Motion might be elbowing its way up my fave list too.

  9. Just noticed that the greek characters in Mo’s blurb didn’t show up. Which I’m ok with because LOO?? is hilarious.

  10. i’m just happy that we got to talk about a LOONA track here!! and that people liked this one!!

  11. @Joshua: somebody on Twitter called them LOO-table-triangle and tbh that’s just what I think whenever I see their name now lmao

  12. since we’re sharing favorites, I’m team Yeojin/”Kiss Later.” no, I’m not taking questions at this time.

  13. Ah! It’s cool seeing a LOONA track on here. I think my favorites in order are probably KimLip > YeoJin (Hamilton who?) > ViVi (who invented the 90’s) > JinSoul = Choerry > HaSeul > HeeJin > HyunJin

    Hopefully you all can catch LOONA 2/3 (JinSoul, KimLip, Choerry) when they debut as a unit in September. The three resident sex bombs are definitely going to give us something completely different from LOONA 1/3.

    (Also also – JinSoul’s B-side duet w/ KimLip, Love Letter, is really really really good)

  14. … guess I should listen to these girls then

  15. Shameless promotion alert: I had the chance to interview Caesar & Loui, the guys behind this song, “Red Flavor”, SNSD’s “All Night”, and more. Big thanks to Angela Omiyi and Ryo Miyauchi for providing a couple of the questions I asked them :)

    You can read the interview here:

  16. (huge props to Edward O for correctly guessing who “Red Flavor” was originally written for)

  17. bumping this just to say that i finished decorating my dorm room:

  18. stan talent, stan LOONA

  19. I appreciate that this set up is adaptable as more members get announced

    I love it!!

  20. killer!

  21. @Ryo: you got it!!! i had to figure out a way of spacing it so it looked neat. maybe i’ll add, like, question marks in the blank spots and fill them up when new members come <3

    @Joshua: <3 <3 <3

  22. omg the “? on the blank spaces” idea make it seem like they’re characters to unlock