It has been about four years since Lee Hyori released her last album and, just like we were surprised by the overall sound of Monochrome, the sound of this completely caught us off guard.

The first thing that has to be said is that this is not a jam album.  There are no poppy bops that are going to set the stages on fire with their dope moves (though both Black and Seoul have great choreo of another kind).  This is an album that hovers just outside the folk-rock spectrum in terms of its production style for the majority of it’s runtime but has some hip-hop and R&B thrown in to vary it up a bit.  The second thing that has to be said is, despite the slower speed, this is not a boring album.  With the two tracks White Snake and Love Me bringing in probably the most pop-sounding and uptempo beats in the set, there is enough variation here to keep the listener engaged.

Vocally, this album is going to be a hit or miss for some.  Hyori has always had a somewhat lowkey vocal delivery and, for the bulk of her discography, that has worked fine.  Because of the more subdued beats this time around, however, this may leave some people cold.  There are no lush harmonies to help fill out the sound and some sections can feel like they are slipping into monotone against the more varied melodies of many of the tracks.   It works for the songs, but if you are a person that likes their singers to be more verbose, this one might leave you wanting.

The lyrics (so far as we’ve seen) are going for a more mature feeling this time around.  It makes sense seeing that she is nearly 40; she’s not the young ingénue anymore and she has always had her music reflect where she is as opposed to where the industry sound is.  But most of them are not too heavy or depressing for everyday enjoyment either.  This is a grown-folks album from a grown woman and, if you go into it knowing what to expect, you can find a lot here to love.

Our favorite tracks are Black, White SnakeUnknown Track, and Pretty.  The most skippable tracks are Rain Fall and Love Me.