Marking her birthday yesterday (her 30th in Korean years), former Girls’ Generation singer Yoona decided to celebrate by spoiling us with the gift of a new five-track solo EP A Walk To Remember, her first in almost three years.
Originally released in 2016, opener Deoksugung Stonewall Walkway offers a bright, breezy, summery shuffle duet with fellow K-pop artist 10cm, aka Kwon Jung-yeol. The sparkling pop and fluttering strings under the refrain, “How do you feel, my girl/ I’m feeling the same, my love,” combine to pack all the windswept romanticism of any Disney movie into three sweet minutes.
Summer Nights and closer Promise have a mellower approach, with finger clicks and warm, jazzy acoustic guitar chords, to create such a relaxing, carefree atmosphere that even the accordion (accordio!) solo of Summer Nights somehow works.
The EP really breaks into its stride though with the middle tracks. When The Wind Blows offers a neat guitar motif while quirky modal-folk guitar chords are plucked underneath, while Yoona maintains the lyrical theme of a passing night. The heart-tugging lines, “You are my star/You confessed to me/You came to me wherever I was/I long for those days”, really show off her emotional depth.
To You goes even further – a beautiful piano waltz, rich with undulating arpeggios, and a classical guitar lead, as her wispy voice feels even more longing, pained and reflective. The lines “When I close my eyes/Everything grows to clear, as if I can touch it/Please be happy/Let’s meet again, goodbye” carry so much depth, they elevate this song to perhaps the most touching K-pop of the year.
Even if it does pool together some older songs, A Walk To Remember is certainly going to be an EP that’s hard to forget.