For a man who’s been active in the Korean music circuit since 2012, it’s hard to believe that 開花期 (개화기) (Blossom) is Roy Kim’s very first mini-album. After claiming top honors in the fourth season of Superstar K, Roy Kim has since released three studio albums (Love Love Love, Home, The Great Dipper) and a handful of OST singles.
Roy Kim is best known for winning the hearts of coffee sippers everywhere with his susurrant singing and folksy music. In Blossom, that signature sound remains intact. But what comes as a surprise and a breath of fresh air is Kim’s new approach to it.
The most prominent tweak that you’ll hear on this mini-album is an uptick in pace and melodic liberties that feel distinctly different from anything Roy Kim has released before. If you are expecting a stream of mellow ballads, the opening track alone on this thing is a clear indicator of something different. This is, in fact, a stylistic departure for Roy Kim and “Egoist” makes that very clear.
For those unaware of how goddamn funny Roy Kim can be — he’s a variety show treasure chest — he captures that side of himself perfectly in his new music video for “Egoist.” Not only does Kim tap into his dorky side for entertainment purposes, but, in the end, also does it to send a message of self-acceptance. In “Egoist,” Roy Kim surrounds his soft vocals with waves of playful guitars and a very bouncy arrangement that borders on dance music. It’s a beautifully layered single that somehow still finds its footing as a folk song, providing Kim with one of his strongest singles to date.
He doesn’t let the pace slip in the effervescent “근데 넌 (By The Way).” This light mid-tempo tells the story of stubborn love and the indecision that plagues those couples who don’t quite know if they want to be together. Roy Kim doesn’t inject much emotion into this track, but what he does do is sing it in splendid fashion. That much is a given with Kim, whose voice elevates “By The Way” into the heavens and easily captures your heart in the process.
But it’s when Roy Kim allows himself that emotional vulnerability that he’s at his most captivating. Accompanied by a piano, cello, and a dreamy string section, Roy Kim’s “상상해봤니 (Only If)” tugs at every heartstring with its intimate portrayal of a struggling relationship; one he spends time imagining panning out differently. It’s a narrative he weaves several times throughout Blossom, like in the airy lead single “Suddenly.”
“Let life go on, like we had the best dream,” Kim sings softly with an equally pleasant instrumental at his side. It’s the Roy Kim fans have fallen in love with — the man whose soothing and emotional voice could calm the nerves of anyone — only this time he’s allowed himself fresh new ways of expressing his sentimentality. In Blossom, Roy Kim ascends away from the anchored slowness of his last album, and without missing a beat has created a brand new atmosphere to enjoy.
Genre: Ballad | Release Date: 5/16/17