As any perennial observer of the Korean pop music scene knows, December can be a tough time as label after label rolls out an unending succession of sober orchestral or piano-based holiday ballads, meant to tug at your heartstrings until money falls out.
For those of us whose need to hear exciting grooves does not vanish simply because giant lit-up spruce trees happen to be appearing indoors, now more than ever, songs like "Icecap" featuring Esbee, released Monday by South Korean R&B singer Kim Park Chella on the A-side of his "Cliche The Blue" single, are lifelines.
With an old school chord progression straight out of Tin Pan Alley, a gorgeous guitar part that is a nod to the transformative soul of Motown and Stax and a punchy drum beat that will shake you awake, Kim dials in the vibe immediately on "Icecap." This is not a song that takes long to like.
Yet, none of this would even be worth discussing if Kim's vocals were not right on the nose.
Particularly in an organic live production context like this one, a vocalist can't hide behind computer-generated trickery or other expensive production tricks. Kim had to nail it and nail it he does.
With shades of Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye as well as their progeny like Raphael Saadiq or Justin Timerlake, the South Korean R&B artist makes it clear that he is can soar with the best of the singers on the scene.
It's easy in a music review like this one, to get carried away with platitudes or assign a release a metaphorical significance far beyond what the artist intended. But with the holiday season the most stressful time of year for many of us, isn't a song that simply makes you feel good, without losing any part of your soul or self-respect enough to merit at least a listen?
I sure hope so.
Listen to "Icecap" featuring Esbee, the new single from South Korean vocalist Kim Park Chella RIGHT HERE