Felix Jen – 03 May 2021
Seori, a Korean K-Indie soloist, released her 3rd studio single, Lovers in the Night, on March 18th, 2021. Departing from her usual sound of smooth grungy R&B, Seori ventures into the realms of synthwave and EDM in LITN.
We need to look no further than the stacked credits, featuring electro-pop legends MØ (of DJ Snake - Lean On) and Madison Emiko Love (of Ava Max - Sweet but Psycho) to know this is a departure from Seori’s usual ATISPAUS crew and “house sound.” Interestingly enough, Seori herself is not listed in the credits unlike her previous albums, ?depacse ohw and Trigger. With these strong dance-pop influences across the song, we’re left with a hard-hitting party track whose brassy instrumental tones and upbeat liveliness contrasts beautifuly with Seori’s Eilish-esque vocal lines. Unsurprisingly, we’re greeted with MØ’s most recognizable touch—an instrumental break chorus with brief lyrical interjections (1:01; Chorus). Those familar with Lean On and other hit MØ records would be right to immediately draw parallels here.
Moving away from her past high-brow art videos of Running Through the Night and Trigger, Seori takes to the gritty cityscape for LITN. Bathed in splashes of neon color, the music video’s carefree nature certainly complements the “live fast” message of the song itself. Interspersed between scenes of Seori riding around car roofs and dancing away in alleyways, scenes of various couples intimately kissing mimic the lyrical temptations: “We could be lovers in the night; We could be strangers in the night.” Same-sex couples also made a striking appearance, something not usually seen in the traditionally-conservative K-Pop scene, even in the modern day—a welcome refresher from the cookie cutter notions of traditionality we’ve grown accustomed to.
While the video has a vintage film-grain quality throughout, this is one video I think would benefited from HDR mastering just to add a bit more pop to the colors overall. The cinematography is exquisite in its storytelling and general ambiance; however, the aspect ratio changes between 21:9 film wide and 4:3 letterbox leaves the music video feeling a little bit disjointed overall. Certainly this is a result of some directorial wisdom, but I would’ve preferred the whole video have been in 21:9 for the more cinematic look, or at minimum a constant 16:9 to avoid the jarring cuts of aspect ratio.
Overall, Seori knocks it out of the park again in an entirely new style, proving she can excel not just with her more emotional and delicate side in tracks like I Wanna Cry and Fairytale, but also her poppy electronic attitude-laden songs of longing and desire. Though suffering from a mild-case of “where is the chorus?”-syndrome, the song’s upbeat nature makes you forget that and brings you to blurple laden nights-out.
It’ll be interesting to see how this single either melds with or completely departs from her next release, whenever that may be. In the meantime, we don’t need to put a label on it do we now?