In this latest collection for the songbird,Autumn LadyJung In’s interpretation of the Motown sound. That goal is tricky, because there’s a fine line between homage and copying. In this EP, we get a little of both.
On the opening cut, “Love Fool,” the song follows a simple acoustic guitar ballad template, but instead of a full band, the added instruments are layers and layers of Jung In. For me, the more layering that are added all doing the same thing gets tiresome, like hearing one echo over and over. Thankfully, the background locals act as separate entities akin to acapella groups (with a guitar).
The effect is pleasing, keeping your ears bouncing from one part to another. That effect of individually layered vocals, additionally, occurs frequently throughout “Autumn Lady”, but reaches its peak on “Love Fool.”
You gotta love the predictability, folks. On another go-around, “Autumn Guy.” the lead single, is yet another Primary production.
Like his work for Park Ji Yoon, Primary tailors his sound for Jung In, adding in more electric guitar and less horns to keep the focus on the nasal singer. The track has a nice tempo and head bopping feel, but don’t all of Primary’s tracks do that? At what point will “light-hearted Motown sound with horns” become less of a novelty and more of a retread? Templates, regardless of the colors, will still draw the same thing.
The latter half of “Autumn Lady” drops the ball on the playful approach of the first half. The Verbal Jint collaboration, “Love Train,” has more hip-hop elements, but it has no real punch or grab to its production.
The album ender, JJAJAN, takes reggae and adds in the vocal work of “Love Fool” for a unique take, at least in South Korea. The track won’t make you dance, but the slower tempo and the many Jung Ins create hooks to nod and sing along to. It isn’t “Autumn Guy,” but “짜잔 JJAJAN” takes novelty to what it’s supposed to be, a one-off creation.
For “Autumn Lady,” Jung In goes for a Motown vibe and succeeds, but to an extent. From “Love Fool,” “Nerd,” and “Autumn Guy” Jung In is in her element, even rapping, among the band sounds. The production plays to her strengths as a one of a kind voice without forcing it and she more than obliges. The latter two lose steam, but as a whole, “Autumn Lady” is a fun collection of R&B, albeit small. Let’s hope her next collection is a full length LP.