YUNHWAY
YUNHWAY


3.7
great

Review

by JohnnyoftheWell STAFF
May 15th, 2024 | 11 replies


Release Date: 06/30/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: you was fuckin up the process i'm boutta take out ur legs

Right, look, so: I love Korea and its cuisine and cinema; I've grown fond of K-pop to extents I'm increasingly uncomfortable with; I had a ball the one time I passed through Seoul (there was a magical cat that ran along a rooftop like a sexy black-ops angel of sass, and an old lady who took the most conspicuous relish of anyone I've ever encountered at fare dodging on the metro) — but it's a long way from the first market I'd turn to for hip hop. Is this at all contentious? Do you listen to Korean hip hop? Most of my exposure comes filtered through K-pop, which for better and worse integrates hip hop into the same ultra-sanitised pastiche as any other international pop trend that comes its way, or else through the inevitable bygone meme tracks (Psy < 3). All of which is fun and cogent to its style, but the artists in question seem more to play with commercial ideas of rap rather than to claim hip hop with enough grit and swagger to be more than a condiment to whichsoever sugar rush.

But not Yunhway — this girl rips like a rope burn, investing equal parts in no-fucks-given trap throwdowns and sanguine R&B earworms, both of which hard enough to make me question whether I've got it all wrong!? Her full-length debut YUNHWAY flies in the face of every ultra-polished, squeaky-clean stereotype I'd entertained (not to mention the tepid R&B EPs she released when she was signed off the back of the Korean talent show Show Me the Money in 2019). Half of this is down to chops and attitude (both of which she packs in spades), but the other half is testament to production that gives her as spartan a ballpark as possible to shoot her shot.

This is much is immediately obvious on the pop-rap opener "Lost In", on which she works her stuff backed by nothing more than a single loop of decaying synth hits. This austere spotlight adds unusual edge to a chord progression and choice of vocal hooks that are otherwise palatable to the point of innocuous, and it's a similar story from here on out: the production defers the impact of each song almost entirely to her performance, and so when things do get fractious, their impact is all the more visceral for how it stems directly from the other end of her mic. Yunhway spits filth on "Prophecies", oozes ego over "Carpe Diem", dices syllables into an autotuned frenzy at the end of "BANG & SPIT", belts out last year's catchiest pump-up jam over a skittering breakbeat on "SCREAM", and still finds time for a handful of melodious R&B winners on the likes of "TALK! WALK!" and "Ibiza": her powerhouse delivery is central to the record, and, with a writing credit on every track, she doesn't piss around when it comes to making her mark in her own name. Far from the plasticated products of her previous material, YUNHWAY is every inch a volatile personal statement.

There's collateral damage to be chalked up on that front. YUNHWAY is far from an even listen, though it's bullish and confident enough to take its rough edges in its stride. One raises an eyebrow at the tendency of certain songs to end on a dime rather than with a strong resolution (something borne out on a wider scale in the rather piecemeal closer "Running Out of Time"), and also in the sequencing of the three hardest bangers back to back (from "Prophecies" to "BRING ME MORE"), but if the album is strong performances first, strong 'songs' second, and balanced sequencing only for those who care to pick up that legwork, then it still holds its own through sheer conviction and an unmistakably clear voice. Yes, it helps to that end that Yunhway grew up in the States, that her English is fluent, and that there's hardly a word of Korean to be heard on this album outside of features, but if this is what it takes to get her weapons-grade take it back lil bitching to land like it does on the scorched-earth bombast of "Prophecies", then you can raise a fucking glass to the joys of cultural exchange.



Recent reviews by this author
Billie Eilish Hit Me Hard and SoftBig Bud Late Night Blues
Taylor Swift The Tortured Poets DepartmentCoaltar of the Deepers/Boris Hello There
Eddie Marcon Shinkiro no naka, AnataJulia Holter Something in the Room She Moves
user ratings (2)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Cormano
May 15th 2024


4136 Comments


rec me korean films

SteakByrnes
May 15th 2024


29855 Comments


I will be checking this

Typhoon24
May 15th 2024


2415 Comments


cormano watch sympathy for mr vengeance

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 15th 2024


6191 Comments


I remember her from the Good Girl show, she was cool, but haven't heard much from her ever since. Will check

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
May 15th 2024


4894 Comments


I really liked Memories of Murder also The Housemaid is one of those classics that's more acclaimed for one or two iconic scenes. Kim-Ki Duk (RIP) is one of the more soulful directors of all time Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...And Spring is a great great film. Action and horror-wise Koreas actually kinda hit or miss for me but a lot of people seem to think both genres are done very well.

bellovddd
May 16th 2024


6047 Comments


I Saw The Devil. one of the best

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
May 16th 2024


4894 Comments


Too grisly for me tbh, that kind of cruelty really doesn't function as entertainment

bellovddd
May 16th 2024


6047 Comments


that is a fair statement but i enjoyed it more so for the two leads and the story. the violence was super intense though no doubt.

Hawks
May 16th 2024


88483 Comments


This is fun.

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
May 16th 2024


5486 Comments


FUCK YEAH

vult
May 24th 2024


2348 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This has heat



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy