Yubin, known for being a city-pop queen and amazing rapper for the Wonder Girls, continues to make her presence known in the K-Pop scene. Now, she returns more beguiling than ever in her latest single “Perfume.”
“Perfume,” which came out January 13th, is an exhilarating, synth-wave pop-song that is absolutely paying homage to the trendy sounds of 80’s music in America while infusing today’s more favorable and updated instrumental methods. It still amazes me how Korea’s music from the 80’s is a completely different monster but Korea’s current composers and artists are replicating the genre in an entirely refreshing way. Get a sense of the feeling with Yubin’s “Perfume” below!
With a rushing beat that gives any listener palpitations, “Perfume” is a lively song with a repetitive nature that tends to hypnotize and absorb the listener as you can easily get lost in the melody and enchanting chorus. The song begins with an interesting cooing of a female vocal (which seems to be borrowed from a Bollywood track) and dives right into a lake of synthetic sounds.
The track incorporates an oddly ear-piercing sound that chimes back and forth alongside an escalating piano melody and drum combo. Combined, it creates a heart-racing and almost anxiety driven sound effect alongside the odd sounds of breathing being cut-off before a few lyrical climaxes.
The song is well-produced and easily enjoyed by anyone who is a fan of this genre. For others, it may be something that simply drills into your mind after a few unintended listens. Lyrically, Yubin continues to showcase her signature Wonder Girl’s rap styles while still showcasing her development as a vocalist. Despite the song being captivating due to Yubin’s breathy sounds, deep dragging lines and higher-pitched singing, the lyrics aren’t anything special. Seemingly, Yubin wants to drown in the lover she has chosen for the night while they drown alongside her intoxicating scent.
Perhaps, like many other K-Pop songs, the lyrics for “Perfume” are just unique and don’t have to to be in-depth or make sense but I was anticipating to find a more refreshing feeling behind the lyrics and was left with a familiar scent instead.
Lyrics from the bridge really build up the listener’s imagination as Yubin enchantingly sings “Ohh, the empty air of this big city is so hard to fill,” and raps “I give off a dangerous scent everyday – I chose you, let’s get drunk now.” It really paints the picture of being a succubus and luring in your lover with just your enchanting scent alone.
Sadly, the main chorus felt a tad underwhelming in comparison to the bridge due to the simplicity and use of the word “Perfume.” “I’m Dizzy – Perfume – make me scented, baby, be my Perfume – fume fume.” I think the “Fume, Fume” part is addicting to hear but not fun to sing. I understand the need to create a hook and fume fits nicely with 수 (su in Hwangsu 황수) but I just crave something more brilliant.
As for the MV, Yubin delivered a vibrant story that illuminates our screens with a crimson color and captivates the viewers mind. Just like the word synthetic suggests, the MV felt like an unreal mix of visual effects with beautiful sets. Despite lacking lavishly expensive sets one thing stood out alongside the creative editing used for the MV – the FITS (those chain nails tho)!
The outfits appear to be where most of the budget went as Yubin looks quite stunning and the style is more grown compared to previous releases such as “Me Time.” Yubin’s style, from the one-piece prism-like garments and Audrey Hepburn sleek gowns to the wispy blonde 80’s hair Miley Cyrus would love and Poison Ivy-esque body suit, not only showcased her beauty but it also artistically displayed the meaning of the song and complemented her sets exceptionally well. This also shows her growth as a K-Pop company-owner to boot.
As for the dancing, it is well orchestrated and the use of back-up dancers was again creative but nothing superiorly special. Sadly, the song is lacking a really catchy dance routine and a song’s hook is only as good as its dance (IMO!). An easy to learn but charming dance to match the hook can easily sell a song.
Overall, “Perfume” is an enjoyable song that, again, feels ahead of the K-Pop scene or too niche (similar to Brave Girl’s “We Ride” – SUCH A BOP!). Since her final concepts from “Feel You” and “Lonely” with the Wonder Girl’s, Yubin seems to have found her place and blossomed as a vintage, aesthetic and synth-pop loving artist who fulfills our city-pop cravings with each of her releases. Although “Lady” seemed to be the only piece of art beloved by the public enough to become a mainstream recognizable song, I fear “Perfume” may get swept under the rug – especially with the possible lack of promotions due to the Corona Virus pandemic.
Yubin is currently promoting with famous brand MISSHA as she released her own fragrance and is holding an exhibition alongside a “Perfume challenge” – but will it be enough to help her surface to the top? We may have to wait for another chart topping single to be released. Good luck, Yubin!
FINAL SCORE: 7.2
MV Score: 7
Song Score: 7.3