Singer-songwriting duo Bolbbalgan4 returned to the music scene with the new EP “Youth Diary 1: Flower Energy” on Tuesday.
Consisting of vocalist Ahn Ji-young and guitarist Woo Ji-yoon, who have been friends since high school, Bolbbalgan4’s songs have topped local charts for the band’s unique voice, whimsical tunes and lovely lyrics.
This time, the indie duo arrives after a yearlong break just in time for spring, with hope to add their self-written songs to the ultimate spring playlist.
“With the start of spring, we are here with a new album that is filled with a flower vibe,” Ji-young said at a press showcase held at Ilji Art Hall in southern Seoul. “As is apparent in the album artwork, we are here to target the spring season and make your heart pit-a-pat.”
“It’s spring and there are lot of pretty places to go and festivals going around. We hope you will listen to our song on picnics and when spending good time with good people,” said Ji-yoon.
The five-track EP has a trio of lead singles: “Bom,” “Star Over Me” and “Mermaid.”
Among the songs, “Bom,” or “spring” in Korean, is the main lead track. Composed and written by Ji-young, the acoustic track is about one’s wish for returned love from his or her crush.
“Star Over Me” is a romantic song that talks about two lovers on a spontaneous trip to see a star together, the duo explained.
“The pop song highlights Ji-young’s rhythmical voice,” said Ji-yoon. “This is my favorite song on the album.”
Third lead track “Mermaid” clocks in with a running time of around five minutes. Inspired by the classic “The Little Mermaid,” it sings of making sacrifices in the name of love.
“It’s a long song, and some may feel the song feels dull,” said Ji-young. “But I hope many will relate to the storyline and development and heightened emotion in the song.”
Among the other tracks, “Seattle Alone” was written when Ji-young was traveling the American city by herself last year. “The song could feel like the love story of a man and woman and their farewell, but underneath it expresses the loneliness of traveling alone,” said Ji-young.
“Picnic,” composed by Ji-yoon, was released as a LG cellphone commercial in 2017, but the duo decided to insert the full version on the album at the request of fans.
Concerning criticism of Bolbbalgan4’s repetitive music style with similar acoustic patterns and sounds, the two said they don’t worry about it because it is their unique style.
“Many can feel our albums are similar to each other, but I think it’s because that is our own style,” said Ji-young. “But we are adding something new each time and our emotion has deepened and is maturing. So it feels different each time.”
The band also revealed that while it wanted to add a feature artist or do a collaboration song with others, it didn’t work out this time.
“We really wanted to do a collaboration, perhaps a duet song with a male artist, but it was more difficult than we thought,” said Ji-young. “I think because our color and style was strong. I think we are better off on our own.”
With the new album, the indie duo announced upcoming concerts slated for May 4-5. Tickets go on sale from April 4.