Park Ji Min remains one of my absolute favorite voices to come out of the Kpop Star enterprise, but contrary to what I just said, I believe the fact that lets Park Ji Min hold so much potential is that she’s not just her voice. A lot of singers in Korea make their vocal color their paints, but for Ji Min her voice is just the canvas. Instead of timbre, delivery becomes the paint she uses to bring songs like “Hopeless Love” to life; the octave jumps are piercing, crystalline in both beauty and sharp edge, and the lines “날 보는 네 눈빛 속엔; 내 맘과 같은 맘이 없어” are among the most beautiful I have heard this year, dripping with regret. “Hopeless Love” drowns itself in blues and greens, splatters of purple, and a dusting of red that captures just how draining an unrequited love could be.
Yet as with most artistic endeavors, the first attempt is not the most successful attempt, and the same goes for Park Ji Min. “Hopeless Love”‘s phrasing hangs brilliantly in the cold air in theory, but there’s a nagging feeling that Ji Min doesn’t believe what she’s singing. If I were her I probably wouldn’t believe it either and may very well end up giving the same sarcastic undertone that she does. Unfortunately for the both of us, that’s not how these songs work.
“Hopeless Love,” as stunning as it tries to sound, remains superficial at its best moments. Sometimes I wonder if Ji Min even wanted the song–ponder if she’d rather have a more playful image–and I honestly don’t know if her performance here is the best way to figure that out. Whatever the reality may be I have hope that the next time she’s not limited to fruit bowls and that she can be her own Van Gogh.