'A Walk to Remember' review: K-pop singer Yoona, of Girls' Generation, hits all the right notes with her new solo EP

'A Walk to Remember' review: K-pop singer Yoona, of Girls' Generation, hits all the right notes with her new solo EP

The five-track record includes a duet with singer 10cm and the most touching Korean pop song of the year so far

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. 

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