I’m excited to share my review of a short and sweet album with you. I fell hard for WEi last summer and “Twilight” is quite literally one of my favorite songs of all time. Don’t even get me started. Since following the group a little more closely, Kim Yohan has become a main bias for me. I also enjoyed watching him in the KDrama, A Love So Beautiful; I need to start watching him in School 2021, as well! On January 10, Kim Yohan dropped a new EP titled Illusion, and it’s 5 songs of pure goodness. Of yessiosity. Of absolutism. And I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you…now!
The first track of the EP is also the title track. I’m not even exaggerating when I tell you that 5 seconds into the song the first time I heard it, I KNEW I was going to like it. There’s a funkiness that’s grooving things along, starting in that very first verse that just made me have this full body YES kind of reaction. The drums shift us from an ethereal synth sound into that groove and it’s so abrupt that it makes the listener immediately perk up and pay attention. Yohan’s vocals sound better and better every time he or WEi release new music, but “DESSERT” is on a different level. His vocals sound so smooth and every play on the beat is super controlled and delicious. (Pun intended.)
The whole song could be 1000% singing and I’d be happy. But no. Verse two brings us rapper Yohan, kicking things up a further notch. His rap style is always packed with personality and playfulness; this track is no exception. The lyrics really work well with his style, as well. He sings about going out of control; “I like it. It’s fun. You’re so bad.” We get that same playfulness in the chorus as the lyrics are quick and then drawn out.
The chorus says, “I’m wrapped around your words as if I’m wrapped around you, baby.” I feel wrapped up by this song. So that lyric gets a, “mood,” kind of response from me every time. There’s definitely some sweetness to this song “like sweet dessert,” but not in a cute and light kind of way. It’s more of a delicious kind of sweet; a satisfying feeling in your soul. I have zero critiques or “I wish he would’ve” thoughts about this song. I just genuinely and fully enjoy it, start to finish.
While the opening instrumentals slightly remind me of the beginning of “DESSERT,” as soon as the vocals begin, we’re suddenly taking a left turn. Yohan digs into his deepest register for the verses here; his tone is rich and warm. The initial familiarity is nice for the second track on the album. It really connects track 1 with track 2 in my mind.
The story of the song is an interesting one. It starts with Yohan singing about having problems and issues, wanting to just sort of walk away and “find” himself. Things aren’t turning out the way he’d hoped or thought they might. “You can call me selfish. I try to forget the past and move on.” He says he imagines things going differently and wants to live his own way. “So go ahead, call me selfish.” I think the message here is a really relatable one and it’s also relevant. Yohan is in his early 20’s and I think a lot of his fans around that same age can understand the feeling of wanting to carve their own path and make a change in their life. You get to a point where you want to take a turn and some might say you’re selfish for wanting to do things your own way.
The song just…ends. For me, it speaks to the idea that this journey is just beginning. There’s no ending with the bow tied, all wrapped up nice and neat. Not yet, at least, because things are just really getting started on this new path towards change. I like this song more every time I hear it. I especially appreciate the “keep breathing” English lyric in the chorus; it hits me right in the anxious heart every time. Ha!
Even though track 2 echoed the introduction of track 1, track 3 here takes an even sharper left turn. It makes me think of Kang Daniel’s “Waves”, which features Jamie and Simon Dominic. Right away, we hear that this will probably be the rap-focused song on the EP. Verse one kicks it off with a strong step towards the vocal pre-chorus.
Can we just stop for a second? The rap in the first verse…wow. There’s so much attitude and swagger jumping out through my earbuds that I keep hitting the “back” button to restart the song and listen again. It’s so BAD in the way that bad = good! Ha! If you’re going to have a song titled “BAD” in all caps like that, with lyrics in the chorus that say, “I gotta be bad,” then you have to possess the right amount of bad-ness and in that bad-ness reign, am I right, Shakespeare? That attitude that’s seeping through the song’s metaphorical pores is the reason I added this track to about a dozen playlists before the second verse really got going.
The kadence, or movement, of the lyrics in the chorus hits me in a similar way to what we heard in “DESSERT”. The rhythm of it is distinct, which helps to break up the different sections of the song. This song is like being on a rollercoaster; the ebbs and flows make it interesting and keep you on the edge of your seat, as much as you can be while strapped in for the ride. I like this song a lot and I especially enjoy how it shakes up the trajectory of where the EP was headed by track 3, not that it was going in a bad direction. The style of this song just really adds a new flavor.
“LANDING ON YOU”
The fourth track on this EP opens with the sounds of an announcement over a loudspeaker, reminiscent of being at an airport, which feels fitting with the title of this song. It sounds like they mention a flight to San Francisco. Haha. I really like the idea presented in these lyrics, overall. Much like when you’re in an airplane, you go from being up in the clouds to seeing solid ground again. Like when you feel a connection to someone, you journey from a dreamy state to something real and you start to draw closer. That comparison of the plane landing and two people getting closer to each other is *chef’s kiss*. The lyrics also open by talking about how cold it can be up in the clouds, then in the chorus he sings about how warm the other person’s hands are. Wow. He also says he’ll get to that person, rain or shine. That plane is flying no matter what!
There’s something about this song that reminds me of Yohan’s debut single, “No More.” The melody has a bounce that I’m just drawn to and there are quite a few acrobatic sounds in the background. Both songs have a vocal style that is really playful and relaxed, as well. I like that this song shows a cuter side of Yohan and is so different in style from the title track. I’m glad this was his second promotional track with a live stage; he’s so versatile and multi-talented and it deserves to be showcased.
A BALLAD YES. We are blessed to end this EP with a spotlight on Yohan’s pure vocals. The simple acoustic guitar steals my heart every time this song starts. It really has some OST vibes! In the second verse, he hits this really beautiful high note, then literally in the next breath hits us with a lower register rap, then goes right back up! It’s ridiculous. I bet some people would assume after listening to this song (or album, really) that Kim Yohan was actually the name of a duo, made up of one vocalist and one rapper. What CAN’T he do?
The lyrics are really sweet. The song opens with, “I’m a little nervous, but I’ll have courage.” Immediately, I think, “Ok, I’m listening.” Such honesty makes me a sucker every time. Haha. My favorite lines are, “Like the stars shining beautifully, be a compass. Please light up my path,“ and, “I hug you in the hope that you feel the same way as me.” He also talks about how in the sky that’s full of blackness, the one he’s singing to is the only source of light. I’m not sure if this is meant to be a song for his fans, but it fits the bill and follows the pattern of KPop albums ending with a fan song. It could really be for anyone who makes you feel grounded and hopeful, as well.
This song is so soft and warm. It’s the perfect way to end the album, since it feels like a sweet send off. I love the ending, as it sounds like there’s a dozen Yohans together, like a Yohan choir. Haha. It really emphasizes the message of the song and makes it feel like even more of a warm hug than it already did.
I’m amazed by how Yohan put this EP together while also filming a drama. The album feels cohesive and it also showcases Yohan’s many talents. This album sets the standard for me in 2022; tough competition!
Have you listened to any songs on this album yet? What’s your favorite?
Are you a WEi stan? Have you listened to any member’s solo work?