Ben releases “Love Recipe,” one of 2018’s best ballads so far
Ballad singer Ben isn’t relatively new to the industry. Originally debuting in 2010 as one-third of vocal trio Bebe Mignon, the band was deemed the female counterpart of vocal powerhouse 4Men, thus sparking interest from the public. Things took a turn with Ben’s career when Bebe Mignon disbanded in 2011, and so she started preparing for her solo debut. As a solo artist, most of Ben’s singles have performed quite poorly, including numerous OST singles she has released throughout the years. In 2016, however, she scored her first Top 10 hit when an OST for Another Oh Hae Young, peaked at number six on the weekly Gaon charts. Her succeeding releases since then have charted three times higher than her past singles did, making Ben one of today’s potential breakout artists.
Ben’s Evolving Sound
While being known to the public as a ballad singer, Ben’s music isn’t as one-dimensional as most people expect it to be. In addition to the stellar ballad tracks she’s released, she has also put out a few upbeat tracks, which prove that she is an artist who still gives room for variety despite staying true to her musical identity. Ben’s first single of the year is “Love Recipe,” and while it is another ballad, it’s one that carries a few techniques that Ben has rarely done in her previous songs.
“Love Recipe” is one that starts without an intro. With a great chunk of the first verse and chorus solely led by a melancholic guitar arrangement, it’s greatly reminiscent of Minah’s “11°,” but “Love Recipe” is arguably better and more cohesively produced than the former. “Love Recipe,” in fact, may be one of the best ballads to come out so far this year.
Ben’s delicate vocals are the perfect complement to the minimalistic approach of the first half of the track, and they convey the right amount of emotion that certain parts of the song deem necessary. The melodies and vocal directions are written interestingly enough that the song requires very little harmonization, due to Ben’s constantly changing vocal dynamic. The song also accommodates a systematic approach in build-up, wherein the track introduces a new instrument section as it enters a new verse. The subtleness found in the first half of the track prepares the listener for a fuller and groovier second half as the percussions come in. It slowly but fully captivates the listener later on when it’s paired with the familiar melody of the chorus.
The Lyrical Quality
The lyrical characteristics of “Love Recipe” are similar to that of Bolbbalgan4’s compositions: simple and honest. That being said, however, “Love Recipe” speaks of heartbreak on a more creative approach by incorporating the concept of food recipes. By using lines such as “three spoons of tears,” and “one spoon of love,” Ben sings of pain—about how a woman thinks her relationship will be different, but still ends up in heartbreak. The poetic value of the lyrics is better appreciated with the music video, especially as it depicts a love story that grows cold as time progresses. Ben, who doesn’t often appear in music videos, makes an appearance in “Love Recipe,” and helps the listener appreciate the vocal direction of the track as well.
The Next Top Artist
Even without the existence of “Love Recipe,” Ben has already proven herself deserving of becoming one of today’s top artists with the countless soundtracks she has recorded. Unfortunately, Ben’s non-OST singles aren’t performing as well as her soundtrack releases, but with her artistry and popularity developing at a steady pace, it shouldn’t be long before she reaches the popularity Ailee, Baek Jiyoung, and other female OST queens have reached. When that time comes, hopefully another masterpiece like “Love Recipe” will not be overlooked again.