Ever so often, I like to share what’s on heavy rotation on my iPod. It isn’t always the newest thing, or the most popular thing, but for some reason this is the stuff that I’m grooving to. I make no distinction between idol and non-idol Kpop, popular and obscure, mainstream and indie. It’s just what I like, and some info about it. Maybe you might like it too.
What I’m Listening To
“U Make Me Feel Brand New,” 8eight
You can listen to a snippet of the song here.
Who Does It
“U Make Me Feel Brand New,” by 8eight, is from their 8eight ep. 8eight is one of a handful of mixed-gender Kpop groups. The name of the group is taken in part from the symbol for infinity, ∞, which is an “eight” turned on its side.
Composed of Lee Hyun (leader), Baek Chan, and Joo Hee (the lone female), they began their career in 2007. Although they do more upbeat, dance music, they are known for their soulful vocals. They have released several albums, including The First (2007), Infinity (2008) and Golden Age (2009). “U Make Me Feel Brand New” comes off their latest ep, released June, 2011.
Why I Like It
This is a really mellow, soulful song. I happened upon it while listening to my iTunes in shuffle mode. It begins very simply with two instruments and some percussion, leading to the introduction of a very simple walking bass line. One of the male vocals comes in, and his voice sounds like a lazy Sunday afternoon. His vocals are complemented very well by the instrumentation. When the other voices do come in, they form a very nice blending. Rather than having a lead singer lead the vocal and the other singers trail behind, the song showcases all the voices. No one voice dominates and the voices don’t compete. It’s a nice song.
The group’s profile on soompi.com says 8eight has been compared to Black Eyed Peas, but I think this song shows they are more soulful than that. Their smooth sound puts me more in the mind of some Neo Soul groups from the early 2000, kinda like if you put D’Angelo, Maxwell and Jill Scott in a group.
Wikipedia defines Neo Soul as “being heavily based in soul music” and “distinguished by a less conventional sound than its contemporary R&B counterpart, with incorporated elements ranging from jazz, funk, and hip hop to pop, fusion, and African music. It has been noted by music writers for its classicist influences, conscious-driven lyrics, and strong female presence.” However, many artists discount the label Neo Soul. Mark Edward Nero writes: “[Many artists] dislike the term Neo-Soul and have disassociated themselves from it, calling it nothing more than a shallow marketing tool. Many of these artists refer to themselves simply as Soul musicians.”
8eight’s Profile, soompi
Neo Soul, Wikipedia
Mark Edward Nero, Neo-Soul: What is Neo-Soul?, About.com