Sunday, February 4, 2018

yaeji - EP2 Review

It is about damn time. For too long, the Electronic scene and all of its various incarnations were excessively male-dominated. It was something I noted a few years back, as virtually every artist with 'producer' as their primary calling card was a man. However, thanks to the continuation of progressive movements for women in music, giving themselves a larger voice through brute force, even the most macho of genres have begun to diversify. With this outcome, everyone wins. Recently, acts like Jlin, Kelly Lee Owens, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, and now yaeji have used Electronic music, whether it's Footwork, Techno, Ambient, or House, as their primary genre. Even in 2017 alone, this shift has welcomed a fair slice of new perspectives that, because of an elegant feminine touch, wouldn't have existed previously. Take Kelly Lee Owens or The Kid, one teasing Tech House with tender edges and alluring set pieces while the other washed over Neo-Psychedelia with warm, motherly care. With EP2, yaeji's second project of the year, the Queens-born Korean artist doesn't resort to either of those measures, instead interrupting the House scene with her demandingly dainty presence.

None of this is to say that EP2 is a rousing success. It isn't. yaeji, being young and still shoe-horned into the tumblr schtick, struggles on the project to create interesting commentary with her words, resorting instead to needlessly repetitive loops (like on 'after that') when the ideas run thin. That song in particular is a great learning experience, as the first half is excellent due to some crafty bleeps and bloops, but marred by yaeji monotonously zoning out midway through. The same can be said for 'drink i'm sippin on,' and while not relatable, the lazy singing and lyrics of opener 'feelings change' doesn't bode well for tracks when yaeji intends to be the go-to benefactor. None of this applies to 'raingurl.' EP2's third single soars past any others, jamming itself with everything you could want in a House track. A hypnotic pulse of a beat that captures you in its web, an instantly catchy hook that anyone can latch onto, and interspersed vocals of yaeji seductively tapping around your magnetism. It bears resemblance to many-a Azealia Banks cuts on Broke With Expensive Taste, including the marvelous '212.' That's high praise for a newcomer, and if yaeji can continue in that lane while expanding others, which includes the groovily-polished production of the Drake cover 'passionfruit,' then her future as ambassador for the alternative House scene seems promising.


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