K Pop elite Jessica Jung has done what very few have done. After being removed from her own group in 2014, she has found her career in thriving form just two years later. At the beginning of the year she released her first ep With Love, J. While not my favorite, and far too cheesy of a song, Jessica did a great job of introducing herself to the Korean public.
Deciding to not let her music career die down, she released her second ep just this morning. A wintery mix called Wonderland, with a single titled the same thing.
Though only on her second release, Jessica seems to be taking on a lighter, and unfortunately less dynamic sound. It’s that safe bubblegum pop that could be turned out by any and everyone. A lot of people have equated it to Disney (who take a turn at musical theater for the youth). This is not to say that Wonderland doesn’t “fit” the brand of Jessica. It’s that same soft and pink, and lack of stimuli that we associate with her. Her image has always been this: pretty, quiet, conservatively fashionable.
Wonderland matches that to a T.
Unfortunately it doesn’t make for an exciting experience once over. Although a definite improvement over Fly, Wonderland suffers from refusing to do more than the pleasantries it creates, and it seems to be following a pattern. Right now it seems that Jessica is taking her musical career slowly. Of course she would, she has to balance an entire career that seems to be building toward an empire (a fashion line, as well as her idol career, which is not just music related). But when listening to Wonderland, I found that while pleasant and inoffensive in every way, I wasn’t particularly blown away by Jessica. I wonder if Jessica wants to take a lighter approach to her pop. Do the lighter sounds of Wonderland (and Fly) truly define her as an singer? Or is she moving through it until she thinks it is safe to leave the music behind for good?
These are all pointless shallow questions, but they do run through my mind with Jessica. Her brand isn’t just singer anymore. She is a businesswoman with a brand to actually build. She cites Victoria Beckham as an influence, and we saw how her career went. Ultimately while the music is nice and likable, I don’t know if I am supposed to take Jessica seriously as a singer just yet. Wonderland is a safe product from a singer we know is doing more than the average idol.
Author Note: The album actually quells these fears a little. Still safe, still incredibly light, but definitely catchier.