Listening to OA‘s Fly me away, I get a sense that she’s working on building her voice and style. Fly me away is her second EP after 23:59. 23:59 was three songs of recognizable styles and Fly me away sounds much more personal. The five song EP offers a cohesive voice within the R&B genre.
“Heart is” is a low key and mellow track. The vocal delivery is close to a ballad as some of the verses dwell on single beats. OA’s vocals are warm and sit in a lower octave, but she’s able to go higher which is shown off a lot during the back half of the song. The mix of English and Korean is natural and flows without pause. I also like how she’s not just following the beat, but using different rhythms while singing too.
“24” is one of the two title tracks on Fly me away. “Heart is” is the other one, but I do like “24” more. The song’s tempo is slower than a walk and carries a heavy emotional weight. As OA repeats the line “stupid love,” you get a sense of despair that’s coming from a very personal place. The song is suggesting that even with age, a person can still make mistakes that haunt them. One aspect of OA’s music is that most songs sound like they’re sung without a chorus. It’s almost like melodic spoken word.
Thankfully, OA offers a different instrumental style on “Hollow.” It’s slightly brighter and still retains the R&B foundation with an added pop essence. OA’s music relies heavily on keyboards and they offer a cohesiveness. “Heart is” might pull more from jazz inside its R&B, but the keyboard movement on “Hollow” is more varied. The bass line also supports with its counterpoint rhythm.
“Summer Rose” continues a shift in style. It sits between “24” and “Hollow” with its multiple rhythms. The keyboards and string conversation in the intro adds a wide soundscape right before the percussion begins to add more weight. The composition on “Summer Rose” is really dense. The track uses a set of samples that move around the main vocals and instrumentation.
Keyboards are still the centerpoint and support OA’s vocals. I think “Summer Rose” is my favorite song on the EP and hopefully more people get this far. “Outro (tricky)” closes out the EP and sounds like an idea that couldn’t be fleshed out as a full track, but does a good job in ending the EP.
OA’s R&B signature is very interesting. She’s most successful in the moody R&B, but showing a brighter voice on “Hollow” and “Summer Rose” shows that she’s not stuck inside one style. I think there’s a lot to enjoy in her discography and I’m curious to see what she could present on a full length.