From its faded piano riff to the 'underwater' feel of Sohlhee's voice, Purple is soft and sassy all at once. The lyrics are cryptic whether you understand Korean or not, but that only adds to the sweet mystery that makes 'Purple' worth listening to again and again. Just like the colour that's pink with added pathos, this song gives 'cafe' vibes with an added touch of darkness. Notably, her lyrics like 'I'd rather you kill me' remind us that purple is the colour of bruises as well as lavender.
Taeil and Sohlhee's voices were a match made in heaven. Sohlhee's breathy, fluttering tones are the perfect complement to Taeil's rich and direct voice. Hearing Taeil's voice for the first time in the chorus feels like a wish I didn't even know I made was answered. Hearing the chorus, you realise it's a miracle that the same words can be sung so differently.
It's not just Sohlhee and Taeil's differences that are married so well in 'Purple'. They both share an almost rap-like quality to their verses. Although they have opposite voices, they both denounce traditional ballad-singing styles.
The lyric which best showcases the harmony between these two singers is Taeil's 'What is purple, The name you've given me?' line. As the chorus is full of Sohlhee calling her love 'my purple', this is like a little inside joke - her lover's response.
The music video captures the song's meaning with unbelievable subtlety. Full of deep colours in overgrown vines and flickering lamps, it shows the mystery in everyday things, just like the song. The best thing about it is the model dressed in bright yellow who mouths Taeil's verse. Everything about Sohlhee is purple, so her duet partner has to be her complementary colour - yellow. An image that truly stays with you is the one of her sparkly nail-polished finger stroking an animal skull. That moment summed up that inexplicable darkness the song holds, better than any words could.
Far far away is dripping with moody auto-tune straight out of K-RnB. It's an unexpected sound, but she pulls it off with an ice-cool attitude. The song's chorus is simple, but that's what makes it so attractive - it's a song you can enjoy from the first listen. The lilting rhythms of her voice never pause, as if she's rocking you to sleep. It would certainly have a lot more swag than your average lullaby. Though the two tracks are totally different, she shows her unique sound clearly. Her voice is packed with both sassy and almost weary emotion - its as if her 26 years of age give her a special pathos.
Overall, Sohlhee's SM debut single really showed her individuality. It's not too serious though, and that's what makes it magical. If she's saying 'You're my purple', she really just means 'You're my purple' and nothing else - it's that simple.
Kpop Review Café’s Ranking: 6/10
Written by Krystal