Rain, Wind, HEIZE

Rain, Wind, HEIZE

My personal favorite Korean female artist—because of her unique timbre, humble personality, and immense song-making talent—HEIZE, has returned with 바람 Wish & Wind. The album carries six new songs, some which contain that classic jazz-infused urban R&B sound we expect from the artist. Don’t let this album or any of HEIZE’s work pass you by. She’s an artist of her own caliber, one that has mastered the art of music in more ways than one. She co-composed four of the six songs, alongside Davii, who composed the other two tracks. She also, of course, wrote the lyrics for every song. An all-in-all artist for sure.

Jenga

From the first note heard in her teaser of this title track, I was already in love. The hook was already embedded into my memory just after that 30-second clip, proving just how addicting this song is. Starting with a jazzy piano rhythm before moving into a beat, the song is pleasant to the ears because of its intricate yet simple music composition. HEIZE herself produced this song, and she did a wonderful job. Gaeko features on the song and blends his rap quite effortlessly into the unique composition. This is one of the most idiosyncratic choruses I’ve heard so far this year, with the hook of “I don’t want to play this game no more, somebody help,” becoming so addicting to sing that you can’t help but do so every time the song comes on.

The music video is full of vintage imagery and costume, making for some eye-catching makeup as well as Alice in Wonderland-esque scenes. Its aesthetic is one not seen before, and it suits the artist perfectly, especially alongside the jazz influenced track. If you watched HEIZE’s last title track “널 너무 모르고 (Don’t Know Me)” in 2017, then you’ll be familiar with the bear mascot in this music video. It seems to play off of that music video—one that caught the attention of many for its creativity. Lovers of aesthetic, art, and vintage concepts should definitely check out the music video.

바람 Wish & Wind

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“괜찮냐고 (But, Are You?)” is a ballad that opens with a soft and melancholic piano melody. There’s something delicate about this song—be it the melody, the fragile vocals, or the lyrics themselves—that hits the heartstrings. HEIZE is so masterful with her intent; the line that distinguishes both rapping and singing becomes so unclear that you don’t even notice when she falls into one or the other. It makes for a powerful yet incredibly soft song overall.

 

The next song “내가 더 나빠 (Didn’t Know Me)” was also released with a music video. The song is sad, almost regretful in its feeling. Guitars lead the melody along wonderfully, and the chorus elicits memories of heartbreak for the listener. The music video is interesting to watch as two actors play out a complicated relationship. It’s like watching a bittersweet romance movie all condensed within four minutes.

The mood lifts with a song that features right-hand man Davii. “잘 살길 바래 (Wish You Well)” is the first distinctively urban R&B track after following two ballads and the jazz-infused “Jenga.” It’s a refreshing track after the heavy two before it. Davii’s vocals are heavenly—reminding me of a mix between DEAN and Sam Kim—truly a buttery smooth combination. It matches with HEIZE’s rough timbre in all the right ways.

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Fans of HEIZE would feel lost without this next track. HEIZE is known for including a piano interlude in her mini-albums, being composed by, of course, Davii. This is interestingly one part of her albums I look forward to most. It seems to paint the picture of the album as a whole quite perfectly, capturing all the feelings brought up in the album within one short minute. “바람 (Wind)” is no exception, as it carries jazz elements but also the melancholy seen thus far. Another common motif seen in HEIZE’s albums is the faint sound of rain in the background, which includes the howling of the wind quite suitably. As someone who enjoys and marvels at the rain, I can’t help but fall in love with this overlooked track.

“Wind” opens the doors seamlessly for the final track titled “Sorry.” “Sorry” takes the mood of “Wind” and brings it up a notch. Upbeat and colorful, HEIZE shows off a style she is most known for. This is the only song she distinctively raps in, as in she does not sing through her rap but carries it powerfully before clearly moving into her vocals. It’s a great ending to the album as a whole.

I was worried when I first heard HEIZE was returning, mostly because /// You, Clouds, Rain was one of my most listened to and thus favorite albums of 2017. It was such a solid piece that told a beautiful story throughout. While I’m not quite sure if 바람 Wish & Wind lives up to /// You, Clouds, Rain yet, the fact that I’ve been listening to the album non-stop for two days straight is a pretty good sign. HEIZE tells stories through not only her songs, but her albums, and that is a difficult skill to master, but master it she does. She is arguably becoming Korea’s best urban female storyteller in the eyes of many.

“Jenga” Title Track Score: 10/10

Music Video Score: 9.5/10

Album Score: 9/10

Overall Score: 9.5/10

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