Since haer’s HYAER, I’ve listened to her singles during off times to hear how she’s progressed. I thought that HYAER was a strong introduction and was really interested in what her next extended release would be. Listening through Why It Ruled, some things have definitely changed for the better, but at the end of the six songs, the EP is a “variation on a theme” release.

haer why it ruled

Essentially, Why It Ruled sounds like a collection of singles instead of an EP with a cohesive narrative. I really wonder if the result is an issue with current listening habits where singles become more important than longer releases. haer has evolved into a much more confident artist. She’s found her angle and sticks to it like a GPS.

This is easily shown on “wednesday.” While there were singles between HYAER and Why It Ruled, it sounds like a transition of ideas from her older release to this EP. The instrumentals are warm and melodic, the verses are varied, and haer’s vocals are focused in the delivery. It’s a good start that introduces the release.

Then “DUMB!” is a bit slower, it’s a bit melancholy at the start and adds new smaller elements throughout its 3:38 playtime. There is a difference in the instrumentals on Why It Ruled. The samples, effects, and percussion are arranged to bring forward specific emotions. “maybe this is you” is obviously a popular song, only second to “wednesday,” but it has that “variation on a theme” effect that permeates the whole release. haer has found a formula that is comfortable and highlights the best aspects of her artistry.

haer has moved from “suburban pop” into something commercially viable. It’s a mix of pop, electronic pop, indie, and at times, emo. It’s easy to hear these songs used in social media or streaming shows. Why It Ruled is her calling card to a wider audience. “running through the city” is the strongest song on the EP, it combines everything that I liked about HYAER and moves her forward. It captures a different energy from the other tracks. And the breakdown at the bridge wasn’t something I expected and gives the EP some audio bite as opposed to the lyrics.

As I don’t listen to any popular music, I’m not sure what a lot of pop artists create, but “why it ruled” sounds like it could easily be a Top 50 radio/streaming track. But at the same time, it sounds like an alternative idea from another song on the EP. haer is that new style of artist that’s using and applying multiple genres to create a hybrid type of music. If I had to think of a name, it would be electronic R&B pop.

Taken as a collection of singles, Why It Ruled highlights why haer should/is popular with listeners. Taken as an EP, Why It Ruled is hindered by a “sameness” throughout the six songs. There are peaks and valleys within each song, but taken from a wider perspective, it’s a very similar journey from “wednesday” to “104.”

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Korean Indie owner and Editor at Large. Constantly looking for new music and working on library parity on Spotify and YouTube Music.