First Impressions: Lee Hi’s “1.2.3.4”

MV

This isn’t really a first impression for a lot of people, because Lee Hi was also a contestant on K-Factor AKA The Voice of Korea AKA Korean Idol AKA K-Pop Star. Okay, K-Pop Star isn’t really like any of those shows, but I’m just trying to tell you guys it’s a singing competition.

Anyways, this is Lee Hi’s debut record and it’s been making a lot of waves, so it only seems right that KPWOP should come forth with an Official Opinion on her first single.  

I’m a sucker for anything YG; they have been aggressive in trying to market a more international sound, image, and presence, and it has totally worked on me. However, I am not a fan of this song. I wanted to like it, because the sound is certainly unique and Lee Hi has a lovely voice, but I cannot connect at all with the retro vibe. This is probably mostly a matter of taste, and on subsequent listens I have warmed to “1.2.3.4” slightly. I wonder if they’re trying to market Lee Hi as a flashier, k-poppier version of Adele? The song is reminiscent of early Adele, and Lee Hi has a soulful voice with more texture than I’ve heard in other K-Pop female artists.

As a talent, Lee Hi has great potential based on vocal chops alone. The other aspects of her ‘package’ will probably develop with time. For instance, her eyes have an apathetic/glazed-over/mean look in this MV (is this just one of her things?) which gets old real fast.

“I’m gonna kill you in 1 and 2 and 3 annnnnnnd 4”

Also, the dance was completely unnecessary and definitely showcased a weakpoint of hers. I’m not sure this can be rectified – as a certifiable Terrible Dancer myself, I am aware that I cannot be saved. You can’t fix the massive problems that I have in coordinating my limbs. OK, maybe Lee Hi isn’t nearly as bad as I am, but there is some degree of god-given talent involved in this realm.

The music video itself had a highly produced, YG kind of look but it was way too colorful. Colorful, and meaningless. Like a fevered dream, it wove from one unconnected image to the next in a haze of oranges, yellows, and neon blues while the soulless eyes of a 16 year old girl stared back at me through the vapor. I emerged from the video in a daze, simultaneously euphoric and devastated. (Yeah, it was a tough night.)

Why is she hanging out with all these sassy inmates all of a sudden?

In general, I would have to say I’m more taken with Lee Hi the singer than Lee Hi the anything else. YG has made a concerted effort to market her in a certain way, but I’m not sure it’s quite panning out; the song attempts to have a soulful, authentic quality but the high production values that I usually enjoy in YG music turn out to be a detriment to the overall experience. I would say the same for the music video. Lee Hi is talented enough that she can, and in fact should, present herself with less frills and hoopla.

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2 thoughts on “First Impressions: Lee Hi’s “1.2.3.4”

  1. Pingback: First Impressions: Roh Ji Hoon’s “Punishment” « K-POP WITHOUT PITY

  2. Pingback: First Impressions: Lee Hi’s “It’s Over” | K-POP WITHOUT PITY

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