SON DAM BI: 눈물이 주르륵

By Paris365 on December 10, 2012

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Pledis Entertainment

Son Dam Bi is one of Korea's biggest stars today. She got her start acting in music videos for others and appearing in an MP3 player commercial. Soon she was appearing in the reality series We Got Married and releasing her own music. Last year -- until June of this year -- she appeared in the scripted television series Lights And Shadows, receiving positive reviews from critics and fans alike.

Although she's often been described as the female version of K-pop star Rain, recently people have been comparing her to Psy and stating that she is the most likely Korean star to achieve world domination like he has. That said, her music is not gimmicky like "Gangnam Style," nor is it intended to be especially funny or controversial.

The title track of this mini-album -- her fourth -- has been translated many ways. Wikipedia states that it's "Dripping Tears," but the product description on Yes Asia indicates that it's "Tears Are Falling." When I translated it using Google translate, the response I received was "Tears Trickling." I'm less inclined to believe Google translate, but I'm hard pressed to choose Wiki over Yes Asia and vice versa. For this review, I think I'll go with "Tears Are Falling" because the product descriptions on Yes Asia are usually given to them by the artists' record labels.

The mini-album opens with a 47 second intro track called "Return." "It's been a long time, I know what you want, I know that you want me, just watch me shine," Son sings in English over a heavy, hip-hop beat. "BI's back," a male voice says at the very end. Then the title track, "눈물이 주르륵," begins with an equally propulsive beat along with piano and the sound of rain falling. "Baby tonight, oh baby tonight," Son sings during the chorus, her vocals perhaps more in the R&B vein than pop, though the beats are punchy dance pop all the way. Produced by the famous hit-makers known as Brave Brothers, the song also has a bit of an electro feel and a slightly dark one at that. "Please dry my eyes," she sings as the uber-infectious song nears the end.

Next up is "그랬나봐요," which Google translates as "Did I Think I," which I assume is meant to be a question. This club-killer also opens with piano but its mostly throbbing dance beats aren't quite as heavy as the title track. That said, the tempo is a bit faster. Vocally, Son does plenty of silky smooth runs that call to mind Mariah Carey, though they're lighter than most of Mariah's and not intended to show off, just to give the song extra warmth. "I wanna be with you, I wanna stay with you," Son sings during the uplifting chorus. The English-titled "Emergency Call" follows with a massive deep house beat. "Gonna do it, do it, do it," she sings. It's clearly meant to be sexual, but somehow she's able to sing it and still sound somewhat sweet and innocent. A bit like Britney Spears during the early part of her career. Then we have "사랑하고 싶었어," a mellow piano and strings ballad that Google translates as "Loved And Missed," which certainly fits the tone of the somewhat melancholic tune. Son's voice is quite emotive here, often sounding like she's actually fighting back the tears, which makes the song especially touching.

Finally, we have "G. Remix Version" of "Tears Are Falling," which pours on a lot more synth and some extra beats, increasing the song's tempo just a bit. The remix also gives the song more of a dark vibe, rendering it quite the heart-breaking dance gem.

It's hard to speculate as to whether or not any of these fine tracks might break internationally. There have been so many songs that I've thought would breakthrough to the mainstream here in the states, such as Kara's "Electric Boy," but it never ended up happening. I'm also reluctant to speculate about Son because I wouldn't want to jinx her. I wish her all the success in the world though. -Michael McCarthy

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