Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Lim Kim – All Right

Sounds like we think it’s the bloke’s fault…


Iain Mew: The sound of concentrated stoicism, of a thousand questions of “how are you?” and “you alright?” being met with barely concealed weariness but a refusal to give away any weakness. Which I got before watching the video or switching on subtitles, partly because the song helpfully inserts those awkward questions, but mostly because Lim Kim couldn’t make it any clearer from her performance, out-deadening even the track around her. The ominous two note alternating motif for the chorus comes close to breaking cover but Lim Kim just buttons everything up and carries on the dance, bored of it but seeing no other option. A shaft of light does come through in a happy little Auto-Tuned interjection that sounds bizarrely unacquainted with anything around it. At first I thought that was just because the tension had to be released somehow, so why not release it completely? The more likely and heartbreaking alternative suggested by the video, though, is that that bit is the clueless guy she’s trying to get over, putting across his side, like a reverse “Somebody That I Used to Know”. She can’t even get space from him in her own song.

Patrick St. Michel: A good bit of post-Lee-Hi K-pop, where the bombast of Lee Hi’s voice gets replaced by the smooth, non-flashy style of Lim Kim. Her singing is what makes “All Right” a little more than just, errr, all right.

Alfred Soto: Kim’s stoned, woozy quality reminded me of Estelle, but the star here is the Jon Brion plonk given to the piano arrangement.

Frank Kogan: I think that I shall never see a poem ugly as a twee, and Togeworl’s super-precious “Number 1” (with Lim Kim) makes me reach for my hatchet. But “All Right” is better than all right; it’s more matter-of-fact, has a steady uninflected “Girl From Ipanema” thing going on.

John Seroff: I don’t usually think of space-age lounge when we tackle K-pop on the Jukebox but I have no doubt Frank will be able to reference the proper precedents. On my end, I’m hearing the wistful sparkle and twee coo of The Bird and the Bee, the occasional accent of a rubbery Timbalandesque synth wobble and just enough English to make the meaning of the song clear. It’s a deceptively precious track with a surprisingly flexible backbone and an enduring burble of a hook. Pretty impressive for a first single.

Brad Shoup: Her oppression oppresses: surprise! The repetition is partly for her, partly for her lover, but certainly not for me. Every line scrapes along toward a wrung-out AAA scheme, with Lim pronouncing each iteration of “ight” with a curious delivery that sounds like she’s inhaling the sound. Would that the Auto Tuned male part had made another appearance or eight.

Mallory O’Donnell: Slight but charming downtempo exotica number that would probably score a full two points lower overall if it had the poor graces to be performed by, say, Nouvelle Vague.

Madeleine Lee: One of Kim Yerim’s best qualities as a singer is the ease in her voice: any note seems comfortable for her, no matter how high, low, soft or loud it needs to be. It’s a shame, then, that there’s nothing for her to do in this song besides breathe the same two phrases over and over, while the most interesting part goes to a robot (played by Denny Do, Kim’s partner in indie folk duo Two Months). The hooks are at least good hooks, but there’s nothing here beyond them. It’s the difference between sounding like you could sing a song in your sleep, and sounding like you are.

Reader average: [6] (8 votes)

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8 Responses to “Lim Kim – All Right”

  1. The intro made me laugh. Good re-use.

    Also I should have said this yesterday, but welcome to the Jukebox, Madeleine!

  2. I believe that we should re-use that line ANY TIME it is appropriate!

  3. Thanks, Iain!

    John: For what it’s worth, the only major domestic precedent I can think of is Clazziquai, though nothing in their catalogue beyond “She Is” is this chill (but DJ Clazzi’s solo stuff certainly is).

  4. Thanks for the additional listening Maddie. To me, “She Is” sounds kinda New Jack, “How We Feel” is very Timberlake-y. Nouvelle Vague is not a bad comparison.

  5. Have loved this song for a while now, especially the electronic break.

    Don’t mention Lee Hi when talking about Lim Kim though. Lee Hi is a hot ass mess.


    New single “Goodbye 20” came out a few days ago. Very cute video; more than that, I’m surprised how well her voice fits into a happier song. Her voice grounds the sunniness of the synths and guitar, but at the same time there’s a slight suggestion in the melodies’ upward lilts that she might find happiness yet.

  7. I like it! Thanks for alerting me to it. I don’t know if it’s partly the title, but the start of the chorus makes me think of Taylor Swft’s “22” a bit.

  8. Me too! It’s the way the synths just explode.