This summer has truly been bliss in terms of music on my end. My favorite group came back (albeit without my favorite member, but hey, I’m not complaining), and my favorite indie acts have been coming out with new stuff almost every week or so since May. Last week, I chose to go on and on about offonoff’s album, boy., dutifully setting aside another album that came out that same week: GroovyRoom’s EP Everywhere. So of course, that’s what I’m going to be talking about today.
I’ve seen this duo everywhere (haha, get it?), and I don’t think I’m the only one. Producers mill around and leave their mark all across the Korean music scene, so I was already familiar with the kind of sound Lee Hwimin and Park Gyujeong had been coming out with for a while now. The tagline “Groovy, everywhere” has caught my attention more than once. My interest was particularly piqued just recently with the release of the single “Blue Moon,” featuring Hyolyn and Changmo. If you haven’t had the chance to check it out, please do so. Please.
But as good as “Blue Moon” was, nothing could have prepared me for the stuff I found on Everywhere. From the very first track, I fell in love with it. And yes, I do tend to fall for an album right from the first song pretty much always, but I promise this one really stands out. Maybe it is because the first track, “Unsigned Hype,” is so different from the rest of the album—it has a real hip-hop sound, the type that reminds you of classic records of the genre (it gives me slight EPIK HIGH vibes, if I’m being honest). JUSTHIS features in this song and truly gives it all its life and energy. His flow is impeccable and, with the piano-heavy backing track, the result is a perfect opener for Everywhere. Yes, the rest of the album is strikingly different, but it makes the song all the more incredible, truly enhancing the album, too.
The title track “Sunday” is where the good stuff is at, though. Before you even listen to the song, you just know it’s about to blow your mind. The song features HEIZE (the wonderful, beautiful, amazingly talented HEIZE, also known as Jang Dahye for die-hard fans) and Jay Park (who the hell doesn’t love Jay Park?). You think you’re in for a great ride, and once the song starts, you realize you were right. “Sunday” has a mellow funk vibe that’s both characteristic of HEIZE’s style and fits perfectly with Jay Park’s vocals. Having these two on the same track also allows for the creation of a nice rhythm, as they both go from rapping to singing effortlessly throughout the song. Truly, “Sunday” is a hit. Plus, the aesthetics are totally fantastic.
Everywhere is a short album, with only seven songs on the tracklist. It’s hard not to say that every song is my favorite, but if I had to choose, I’d go with “Sunday” first and then “Somewhere” second. The song has a tropical beat that some might get tired of hearing, but it’s something I’m simply in love with. The track has reggae elements to it (you’ll notice if you listen closely), and the featured artists are incredible. Suran lends her sultry vocals to the chorus, while pH-1 takes care of the rap. “Somewhere” is a great summer song with a chill vibe, and it is definitely worth a listen... or 20.
Next on my list is “Tell Me” and, once again, the featured artists are the main reason for this ranking. Who would have ever thought of having R&B performer Sik-K and all-rounder hip-hop artist GIRIBOY on the same track? Being a massive fan of both of them (especially GIRIBOY, who truly never disappoints with his music), it was not surprising for me to pick their collab as one of my favorites on the album. The song borrows a lot from GIRIBOY’s sound, in fact, as he had a hand in the production and mixing of the track (as the tagline “G, R, Boy” tells us halfway through the number). Mixing pop, hip-hop, and electronica together, the song stands out as a result of its originality and catchy sound.
I’ll ask one thing of you, though: please check out the entirety of Everywhere. Elsewhere on the album, you’ll find tracks featuring Verbal Jint and Ailee, among others. Everywhere makes for both a great record and a refreshing summer release. Variety is there and, surely, there’s one track you’ll find yourself loving more than you thought you would have at first. Your new favorite summer track might just be on there; who knows?