16 year old Lee Hi made a big first impression on K-pop when her first single "1234" debuted at No. 1 and held the top spot for three weeks. This week, she returned by unveiling the first half of songs on her debut album, "First Love," including the lead single and intro track.
Her first single, "It's Over," sees Lee Hi showcasing her soulful vocals over a boppy instrumentation made up of classic piano and horn sounds. The chorus is undeniably catchy with the hook "It's over, it's over, so baby goodbye" almost instantly stuck in one's head. It could have been sung over a dance beat, but the decision to keep the blues twist will make Lee Hi stand out in the highly competitive K-pop market. While her voice is not as polished as contemporary Ailee, the newcomer's vocals show heaps of promise to grow stronger and allow for more powerful belts. In "It's Over" we only hear one leaving the listener curious for more. While Ailee has a typical diva voice similar to Beyonce, the color of Lee Hi’s voice stands out like Adele or Duffy, who grab the listener at first listen.
If "It's Over" is sonically impressive, the video looks to further emphasize Lee Hi's adolescence to impress listeners even more. At age 16, Lee Hi is still a child, but the video hyperbolizes the fact and is filled with stuffed animals, children's toys, multicolored candies and Lisa Frank-inspired fashion choices for a fun video set. The adorable, bright-eyed Lee Hi dances and play fights with an oversized stuffed bear throughout the visual. Fans of YG Entertainment (the label Lee Hi shares with BIGBANG, 2NE1, Se7en, PSY and other names) will enjoy seeing the bear dressed in instantly recognizable looks from labelmates G-Dragon and Taeyang of BIGBANG.
For her debut album “First Love,” YG Entertainment used an innovative method of revealing half the album on one date and the second two weeks later. Fans were teased with the intro track “Turn It Up,” before the first single was released four days later. Like “It’s Over” the intro track gives a heavy dose of rhythm and blues while still maintaining a modern elements.
With the strong sounds of "It's Over" and "Turn It Up," along with the proven success of "1,2,3,4," it looks like we may be seeing a lot more of Lee Hi in 2013.