Yukika
Timeabout,


3.1
good

Review

by JohnnyoftheWell STAFF
April 24th, 2021 | 24 replies


Release Date: 04/07/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: City bops II: more city, less bop

Yukika is here and she’s happening. Her story kicked off like a fairytale, and it seems to have reached full swing: Japanese girl jets off to Seoul for a new life, cruises a few K-idol shows and hits it big as a soloist. What a wonder. Since her debut single (and still best track) “NEON” in 2019, she’s established herself so thoroughly as a K-pop star that her Japanese fans are frequently surprised to find that she isn’t Korean (or so the stories say…). Her first album Soul Lady was the kind of record that made space for itself in Korea’s pop landscape, at once a slick revival act and cross-cultural export of ‘70s/‘80s Japanese city pop conveniently timed for that style’s recent-ish graduation into peak retro nostalgia. It was a smash, one of the few 2020 records that virtually everyone liked, K-pop casuals, deep-breathing pop snobs, and, encouragingly, bevested headbangers brought to a level by its vintage arrangements and exuberant delivery. That record still carries a golden glow of sorts, and it’s well earned; as such, Yukika’s in the spotlight and, her algorithms not being ones to linger, it holds that we are treated to follow-up EP.

More than anything else, timeabout, feels like a smartly-gauged stylistic reshuffle. It suggests that Yukika and her limo-sized songwriting team are still savvy to city pop’s choice flavours but aren’t keen to be pigeonholed as a retro-revival act. Soul Lady’s groovy basslines, colourful chord choices and endless, endless swing are still central here, but they’ve been given a makeover, no longer tied to ultrabusy vintage arrangements but instead rewired to a silky-smooth palette with more sheen and extra spatiousness. Where once she rode over a whirl of backing vocals, snare-happy percussion, sweeping strings and electric pianos, here Yukika finds her footing in a sparser foundation of four-to-the-floor and synthesised counter-melodies; her performance is more central and a little less short of breath.

The upshot is a less urgent release that sits very comfortably in K-pop vogue. For a probable majority of Yukika’s audience, Soul Lady was a first encounter with city pop; for these folks, timeabout, will be a gratifying nod to more familiar territory. Everyone else will have to make their own minds up whether the likes of “Insomnia”’s breezy shuffle or “PUNG!”’s glittery smoulder match up to the thrills of Soul Lady’s head-over-heels exhilaration, but it’s hard to argue that any of these tracks do a disservice to Yukika’s talents or palatability.

My main gripe is that her hooks are a good deal less engaging this time around. timeabout, looks and feels almost suspiciously exactly right and Yukika’s choreographers have doubtless had a field day, but it doesn’t boast the wealth of earworms that made Soul Lady such an instant delight. The catchiest track here, “Secret”, is by no coincidence also the most upbeat, and it’s the only song her that recalls perhaps Soul Lady’s strongest quality: that it was bold, busy, enthusiastic to put equally engaging parts of its arrangement in competition with one another and make Yukika fight for the prominence of her hooks, and far too much to be flawlessly ‘smooth’. timeabout, is exactly that: smooth as hell, tasteful to a fault and perhaps more respectful to open-ended consumption preferences than its predecessor’s giddy rush. It’s exactly where Yukika needed to go next, but I’ll be crossing my fingers that she works up a little more excitement for the next item on her career checklist.



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user ratings (45)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2021


35728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Link: https://open.spotify.com/album/1cBAfX0otvkoIOI6HtOrAc?si=OcFbwt_rTlqKyrNzu8XU1g

yada yada everyone loves this okay nice ! here is your thread :]

Digging: Kero Kero Bonito - Civilisation II

normaloctagon
April 24th 2021


5577 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

aw yay : ) i was hoping you might review this



now i can DANCE to it on the internet!!! (>'-')>

normaloctagon
April 24th 2021


5577 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

also you definitely nailed this. i have both 3.5'd for different reasons, many of which youve managed to turn into sput calligraphy (where the hecc is the pos button on this thing?), but agree her debut is the stronger of the two fs, even if i throw this one on more often and want her to keep going in this direction

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2021


35728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

DANCE BABY DANCE DANCE DANCE

thank you :] and yeah, this direction is defs the right one for her but I hope she vamps up the pizzazz next time around. chances are it won't be too long before she drops something new, am hype

GmemberKills
April 24th 2021


3776 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, I was hoping it would get one. I agree with most of your assessments too, hooks could be stronger, debut is better, and 'NEON' is without a doubt her best song.



My favorite here is probably Insomnia, I just love the funky bass & smoothness of it. Hope she keeps putting out more stuff and gaining attention, I don't keep up with k-pop but I feel like she should be bigger compared to other artists in the scene.

Digging: RA MU - Thanks Giving

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2021


5426 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Looking forward to this. Insomnia was not that catchy as her previous singles IMO

Digging: Wheel (FIN) - Resident Human

Tyler.
April 25th 2021


18370 Comments


insomnia is insanely catchy

alamo
April 25th 2021


3839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

epoty

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2021


35728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Insomnia's bassline is fire but I'm already struggling to remember any of the vocal hooks

so it is not that catchy zing

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2021


5426 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good EP. The last three songs are favorites so far.

parksungjoon
April 26th 2021


30896 Comments


Johnny you buttmonkey. This album has Supernaut, Wheels, Changes, Snowblind, and Laguna Sunrise on it. This album is more than a 3.1, no matter what because of those 5 songs.

Digging: Make a Change...Kill Yourself - II

Pheromone
Contributing Reviewer
April 26th 2021


14052 Comments


johnny rank your favourite members of mcbusted

Digging: The Mary Onettes - Portico

parksungjoon
April 26th 2021


30896 Comments


pheromone

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 26th 2021


35728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

interesting idea Pheromone! here goes:



John K Samson

Robert Smith

Faye Wong

Yukika

Johnny Greenwood

Bert McCracken

Charlie Simpson

Trent Reznor

Chris Martin

Dua Lipa



wow that was harder than i expected haha

Pheromone
Contributing Reviewer
April 26th 2021


14052 Comments


ok thank

Pheromone
Contributing Reviewer
April 26th 2021


14052 Comments


Tom Fletcher

Opposable Thumbs

James Bourne

Tennis Shoes

Matt Willis

The Budding Realisation of Forever Alone

Harry Judd

Doofus Wainwright

Harry Judd [2]

Aiwaz Madonna Review


thanks for aski

alamo
April 26th 2021


3839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

time travel is the best song ever

SteakByrnes
April 26th 2021


23467 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

EP owns

Digging: Hail the Sun - New Age Filth

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2021


35728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good list

Pheromone
Contributing Reviewer
April 27th 2021


14052 Comments


thanks johnny ask jom to staff me



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