SOOIN has been releasing singles steadily since 2019, and it was actually her 2021 single, “Question,” which first caught my attention. After falling for her deep yet breathy vocals and jazzy, city pop-infused lo-fi stylings, I knew I had to give her only EP a listen.
Released in 2021, Diary is only three tracks long, but even so SOOIN manages not to box herself in to one sound. Although there are recurring elements in her compositions – because she is self-composed and writes her own lyrics – they don’t become tiresome. So, if you’re a fan of laidback city pop and R&B, then buckle up for a nice, short night time drive with SOOIN’s Diary.
Track one is not the titular song but does seem to be the main one, with its instrumental tacked on as the fourth track of the EP. “아무것도 없는 곳으로 (To Places No One Knows)” borrows a lot from the trends of city pop, creating an atmosphere perfect for a nighttime drive. The sounds of cars driving by heralds its beginning, and even the first few lyrics reference streetlights.
A staple element in this track is the synth, which is a must in city pop, and the bass. SOOIN’s use of reverb enhances the private element that the title implies – a journey to a place meant only for two, as she sings about the one other person traveling by her side.
“Where there’s nothing.
So that only you and I can know.”
“The Lack of Love” opens immediately with SOOIN’s vocals, immediately shifting the vibe from city pop to a more lo-fi R&B combination. The song emphasizes her vocals (with some great harmonies and backing provided by SOOIN) and the bass, with electronic elements serving to fill in any gaps in the sound. At times she seems to almost lean into rap territory, though she never fully leaves her melody behind to switch to a more spoken-word style.
If you’re a fan of female K-R&B soloists, then this track by SOOIN may fit nicely into your library, delivering on many of the popular elements of the current brand of lo-fi/R&B. While it is a bit predictable, SOOIN suits the sound and delivers an enjoyable song.
“Diary” strays even further from the stylings of the first track, opting for a softer, more acoustic sound – though not entirely devoid of the synth and electronic elements she’s already shown. It leans slightly towards lo-fi, but doesn’t get there entirely. The instrumental is simpler overall, especially once SOOIN starts singing – which is nice, considering this is the track where she flexes her range a bit more. There’s a lovely recurring guitar riff that is simple but pleasant, and the track overall is a nice rounding out for the short but sweet EP.
Diary isn’t extremely explorative, but it does showcase SOOIN’s ability within her chosen genre. She knows what she wants to make and how to make it sound good, so if you’re a fan of these elements you’re likely to enjoy her work. Although I’m a fan of her current style, I hope we get to see her branch out more in the future.