Review: Lim Kim (Kim Ye Rim) – “Awoo” Is Wonderfully Off-Beat And Comfortingly Familiar

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Lim Kim is an artist who has established a vocal styling all her own and she’s cultivated a good amount of singles that highlight her strengths, whether that be the simple folk charm of “Rain” or the breezy pop masterpiece that is “Goodbye 20.” What is impressive about “Awoo,” Lim Kim’s recently-dropped music video for her third mini-album ‘Simple Mind,’ is how different it sounds from Lim Kim’s past work and how the project still plays to Lim Kim’s unique and quirky strengths.

The folk-inflections of Lim Kim’s work are smartly placed front and center for “Awoo” but there’s some brilliant production tricks that keep “Awoo” from sounding anything near boilerplate. The slight EDM influences, record scratches and hallowing of Lim Kim’s vocals give the song a slightly disorienting sound that is ever-so-slightly off kilter and plays into the whimsical nature of Lim Kim’s work without it being too similar to Lim Kim’s past singles. At the same time, the plodding thumps of the bass line make “Awoo” into a surprisingly workable banger, especially given Lim Kim’s more delicate inflections that are still thankfully kept intact on the track. The resulting R&B/pop/electronica song isn’t too far off from what Tinashe recently did with her amazing Amethys mixtape (if anything, Lim Kim’s voice has always sounded like it would do quite well in the western pop scene right now), especially given the heavy emphasis on atmosphere on “Awoo.” “Awoo” may not have the insane addictive qualities of some of the best K-Pop out there but it is infinitely replayable and one could rock out to it all day without tiring of Lim Kim’s spaced-out voice.

What a bullseye.

What a bullseye.

The video for “Awoo” is fine, if nothing particularly noteworthy. The video makes great use of color. Oppressive pastel greens and pinks dominate the video but they are offset by punches of bold color that keep things visually interesting (it also makes for an interesting visual theme where most of the bold color comes from “real” things like the cat, the real strawberry cake, the goldfish and the plants). The direction and editing keep things purposefully still and the creation of movement is left up to the momentum of the cuts between takes and the interspersion of sped-up scenes. The resulting video looks part-indie flick, part art-piece. It suits a song that seems to start and stop in halts and helps create a cohesive music video that seems to strive for understatedness.  What “Awoo” lacks in impact it makes up for in consistency. As for Lim Kim, the pastels unfortunately kind of wash out her blonde hair but the singer looks as great as ever.

“Awoo” is a departure from Lim Kim’s more musically organic roots but it works both as an evolution for her sound and a reflection of a more western-oriented music scene. It works and I can’t wait to hear what’s next for Lim Kim.

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4 comments

  1. Fortunately she is at a good company for her style. Yoon Jong Shin seems like he has a good feel for the business and would be a good boss. All of the female artists I have heard from his agency are really good singers and have unique voices. Rather than trying to groom her into some pigeon-holed pop princess, he seems to recognize that he can have her do more musically than just regurgitate standard pop song fare.

  2. I like this a little better than “Are You a Grown Up?”, but while the video is similar to, it doesn’t grab you nor is as tuneful as the wonderful “Goodbye 20”.
    I also prefer songs where I can make out her distinct vocals clearly. Of her recent work, “A Little Close” with HIGH4 was very good. She just dropped a teaser for “Love Game”.

  3. Oops, I linked to the wrong (teaser) video. In any case, here’s the full video for ‘Love Game’ with the usual quirky production values. I’m digging her blonde ambitions but the song itsellf is ‘all right’ (geddit?).

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