Jue is an artist who’s been on the scene since 2018, quickly finding a niche in the Korean R&B community with her deep, strong voice and overall retro sound. Frankly, I’ve always been surprised her follower count isn’t higher, though I suppose that makes her something of a hidden gem – one definitely worth discovering. Just in time for the end of summer, Jue released her six-track EP aptly named 6 Shots, a fresh and funky R&B collection perfect for these last sweltering weeks.
The first track, “D-Day,” was a prerelease single that dropped back in July and immediately made its way onto my summer playlist. With an infectious and bubbly synth-pop beat, intercut with people chatting and laughing, it captures the warm and carefree energy of a summer day. The lyrics open with her asking herself,
“What are you gonna wear today, Jue?”
It has a touch of nostalgia both in lyrics and in sound, setting the tone for the rest of the EP well. 6 Shots has an overall retro feel, with Jue drawing inspiration from the 90s and 2000s R&B but giving it a fresh twist. Chic and crisp, this first shot of the titular six is a mood-maker for sure.
“Your Plan (feat. Paloalto)” is a jazzy track, drawing heavily on retro R&B again, with Jue singing about falling for someone she never thought she would — and thinking it’s all part of that person’s plan. It’s a flirtatious and fun song with an infectious beat and intermittent glittering synth that keeps it fresh for countless listens.
The music video has a similarly retro look and feel, from the styling to the sets to the use of fisheye camera lenses. It’s smooth and infectious, feeling effortlessly cool. With the current callbacks to the 90s in fashion and music, Your Plan fits right in, and Paloalto’s slight raspiness complements Jue’s low, velvety vocal tone.
“Teaship – Interlude” is a shorter track with a slightly darker mood but similar instrumentals to “Your Plan.” Jue’s harmonizations and reverbed vocals make for a rich soundscape as she sings, asking that whoever she’s singing about not “build [her] up,” pleading,
“Don’t say it’s love.”
Around the halfway point, Jue’s vocals really shine, her voice growing stronger as the song continues, expressive and backed by beautiful ad-libs and harmonizations. During a spacey instrumental interlude, Jue unexpectedly states,
“Stay with me tonight. / I know I’m selfish, / but stay with me tonight.”
The song slowly fades away into silence from there, with soft, minimal adlibbing from Jue.
But “빙빙 (Being Being)” quickly brings the mood up again, with a whistle lead synth typical of 90s West Coast hip-hop. The whistle sound reappears throughout the track, bringing the energy up from the otherwise percussion-heavy beat. The tempo is a bit faster than the other tracks, and the occasional repetitions of “빙빙” are infections earworms, to say the least. This track is easily one of my favorites off the EP with its fun adlibs and smooth groove.
“Tell me what you want, baby.”
She giggles playfully at the end of the track, just before the sound fades out completely, feeding into the flirty nature of the song.
“Quiet Quality” is a bit metallic and features the same co-composer and arranger from “D-Day,” YUNU, and it shows. The vibes are strikingly similar, although “Quiet Quality” isn’t as summery as “D-Day.” This track unexpectedly features some rap from Jue amidst myriad clicks, taps, and even a sound that always reminds me of a spring for some reason. I’ve heard it a few times in various songs over the years.
“Fakin'” is a tonal shift. Featuring funky bass, Jue’s occasional laughter, and contented sighs, and some purposeful dissonance, it ends the EP on a high, unexpected note. Jue’s low, smooth vocals complement the sharp, often metallic-sounding synth that reminds me of glowcean’s sleek, chrome-inspired sound aesthetics.
The synth has a similarly retro-futuristic spacey sound to the second half of “Teaship – Interlude,” and the repetitive chorus of “Fakin’s, fakin’, fakin’…” is almost hypnotic. It’s a very different style of song but retains the same vibe as the EP, on the whole, a reminder of Jue’s flexibility as an artist.
6 Shots gives off an effortlessly cool vibe, much like Jue herself, drawing from the best qualities of retro hip-hop and R&B to produce fresh tracks for modern fans. If you find yourself missing classic R&B but also wanting something new, Jue’s discography may just hit the spot.