1theK Random Play: Jane Jang — 'Seoul Noir'

Released May 29, 2018, this week’s installment of 1theK Random Play features Jane Jang’s “Seoul Noir.” The music video sits at just under 80,000 views on 1theK’s official channel and is the second entry by a female artist in this series.

Who Are We Listening To:
Jang Jae-in, known on stage as Jane Jang, is a Gwanjgu-born singer-songwriter who came to public notice when she placed in the final three on the competition show “Superstar K2” in 2010. With a distinctive vocal styling and an “unconventional appearance,” she quickly became a fan favorite on the show. Under her current label, Mystic 89, she has released a mini-album, a number of singles and has also featured on numerous soundtracks.

What’s A Hit:
Of all the songs that have appeared in this series so far, “Seoul Noir” might actually be my favorite. Jang’s voice is definitely different than most of the vocals that currently line the idol stage, but I’m hard-pressed to describe how it’s different. Less syrupy-sweet, maybe? But no less refined for sure. The song itself is cynical in words, and the twangy crunch of the single guitar behind Jang’s voice lends itself well to that cynicism.

What’s A Miss:
Truthfully, the biggest miss on this song is parts of the music video. Shot in very real-time, or perhaps just higher frames per second — sorry, I’m not familiar with cinematography jargon — it can be a bit jarring at times.

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In fact, there are a number of stylistic choices that are very interesting. For instance, there’s a whole section shot in a drag bar that plays around lyrics about mistrust and doubt, of complaints that one party has changed since the beginning of the relationship. I’m not quite sure if the location is meant to be a commentary on the lyrics themselves, but it was certainly a bit of a surprise to see in a South Korean music video.

1theK Random Play is a weekly feature for music videos posted to 1theK’s official YouTube channel. Chosen videos will have under 100,000 views and offer the opportunity for readers to be introduced to lesser-known Korean artists.

(YouTube, Mystic89.)

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