Inside Korean music, the ballad genre is the one that I don’t spend much time with. For myself, it’s the tempo that distracts me from diving into the music. But sometimes, I’ll deliberately listen and see if my opinion has changed. Lee Jane‘s album Jane’s stream is a low-key ballad and indie pop-ish album. It’s not that deep stereotypical ballad music, but simpler and minimalistic. Overall, Jane’s stream is an album that calms and soothes.
There are almost 30 minutes of music over eight tracks, each allowing Lee Jane to sit comfortably in her chosen style. Her vocals are warm and have a slight hint that she’s able to project a wider spectrum, but chooses to stay within each song’s limits. “things to do in that summer” is a melancholy opener with a slow tempo and floating vocals that seem to glide over each beat.
Jane’s stream is her second full length, she debuted in 2018 with a break in 2019 and a return in 2022. I think “My stream” is the track that will attract most people who stream the album. The repeating piano melody is pleasant and Lee Jane’s vocals are slightly brighter than “things to do in that summer.” This track is a bit more standard when listening to ballad-esque songs.
Lee Jane also expands outside of customary ballad with “Even,” which is more like a mix of a church song and folk. Jane’s stream starts opening up around “a house that is not empty” and “For a long time.” It’s clear that while she’s tagged in the ballad genre, Lee Jane has a wider range. “For a long time” is a mix of jazz and ragtime piano mixed with some pop. It was a surprising style to hear.
I wonder if there’s a big religious influence in Lee Jane’s music. It comes forward in the arrangements and isn’t something I hear often in customary ballad tracks. It doesn’t distract but some melodic lines really come out like you’d hear them at a church.
Her vocals are the main attraction of this album. Lee Jane offers a nice variety of styles within an overarching tone and ballad fans will find a standout track for sure. I’m curious how much power she can put into her vocals as that’s the only weakness that I hear throughout. +