If you remember back to December 2016 when I reviewed Jessica Jung’s last album ‘Wonderland’, I stated that Jessica could become a real force to be reckoned with in the world of K-Pop. The improvement in both writing ability, vocals and delivery between her last two albums was impressive. And now Jessica is back with her 3rd mini album ‘My Decade’ to celebrate 10 years in the industry. Has she made the same massive leap as last time or has she gone back to the beige sound of the debut?
The album opens with lead single ‘Summer Storm’, a moody mid-tempo pop number. Sonically, it’s got a lot more in common with ‘Fly’ than it does with ‘Wonderland’ but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It actually gets a lot right where Fly failed. The lyrics are a lot stronger and a lot less juvenile and the production fits the songs so much better. There’s a lot less vocal issues here too which really benefits – they’ve definitely learned how to produce a song around Jessica’s voice now. We get to hear the range of Jessica’s voice without it being too much like it has been on previous records. That being said, it falls way short of the brilliance of her last single ‘Wonderland’ which still remains the best of Jessica Jung.
‘Beautiful Mind’ is quite an interesting track as it treads between the sound of ‘Summer Storm’ and some elements from ‘Wonderland’. It’s got a slight electro pop vibe to it which really electrifies the production. There just isn’t enough of that energy throughout the song – the verses are lacking. The bridge and chorus are super catchy though if a little muted. This is the sort of song that could do with a powerful vocal from someone like former bandmate Taeyeon or Seulgi from Red Velvet to give the song that little lift it needs. ‘Saturday Night’ sees Jessica move into pure pop with a dance inspired pop track. It’s what I would call a basic bop. Perfectly serviceable throwaway pop.
As seems to be standard in K-Pop minis, we’ve reached the obligatory ballad which in this case is called ‘Love You’. An acoustic ballad, it’s a great track to showcase the colours in Jessica’s voice but it’s the sort of song where I immediately hit skip. ‘Starry Night’ brings the energy back up somewhat with a fully produced ballad. It’s pretty and does sound like something you’d hear on a Girls’ Generation record. Closing track ‘봄이라서 그래’ is another slow number. It’s very much more of the same – perfectly serviceable but not memorable in anyway.
In my last review, I mentioned that Jessica could become a big solo artist in the K-Pop industry. I’m now more of the opinion that her last record was more of a fluke. Don’t get me wrong, this record is cute and there’s nothing bad here but there’s also nothing here of note that stands out in the endless sea of K-Pop releases. Jessica is selling records on her name alone and that’s not going to be sustainable forever. I do applaud her for taking control and writing the tracks herself but sometimes you need a little bit of help. Here’s hoping she gets some with album #4.
‘My Decade’ is available to buy now.
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