It’s been a while since I listened to Bobby Kim, but coming back with his fourth album 거울 I remember exactly why I enjoy listening to his music. As an R&B vocalist, his voice is key to enjoying his music, but he easily gets into your head with a distinct and melodic voice. I enjoy vocalists whose voices aren’t exactly “pure.” Meaning that they don’t have perfection in their voice and there’s an element that sticks out.
With Bobby Kim, his voice is smooth with a slight rasp. It never sounds like he’s straining to hit notes because he sits in a comfortable range, but how his voice matches his songs is perfect. “Good Thing” is one of the best songs on 거울. The band accompaniment along with background strings and brass give the song a huge presence that’s contained. The mix of the song allows the band instrumental to sit right behind his voice and all the extra instruments are low so they are almost unnoticeable.
The guests he brings like Double K, Sean2Slow and 김영근 (his father) add to the songs, but never take over. This is Bobby’s album and the guest serve to accent the songs, not stand above his voice. I also think the collaborations are among the best of ones I’ve heard over the years. “사과” is a somber song with his father that uses a simple instrumental to focus your attention on the vocals. Even though Bobby is classified as R&B, a lot of songs on 거울 sound like alt-country songs mixed with Jazz. It’s a weird mix, but getting drawn in is easy.
The twelve songs serve to continue to showcase Bobby Kim’s unique voice. All his albums have standout songs, but I think 거울 is one of his best albums. There’s a connection you make when listening to his voice. If you’re looking for a set of songs that are based in R&B, but aren’t afraid to mix genres then this is the album for you.
Bobby Kim on iTunes.