The Korea Herald


[Album review] Primary and Anda’s weird collaboration

By Hong Dam-young

Published : April 4, 2018 - 14:40

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Primary & Anda

“Do Worry Be Happy”

(Stone Music Entertainment)

Primary and Anda blend about as well as oil and water. Anda, Primary’s new muse in recent project album “Do Worry Be Happy,” was better known for rumors surrounding her relationship with a member of the Middle Eastern billionaire Mansour family than as a singer. So when the hit producer tapped this lesser-known musician to be his partner, one might have wondered why it had to be “her.” Unfortunately, Primary’s first collaboration album with a female musician doesn‘t clearly answer that question.

Borrowing Primary’s words, Anda has an ability to write sensible lyrics that are rarely seen in hackneyed K-pop songs. Agreed. The songs from the album, which she lent her hand in writing, deeply touch on the struggles of the youth in not so obvious language. According to the producer, her vocals are unique and rough, a nice tool to portray “unstable youth,” which also forms the backbone of the album.

Whether intended or not, however, Anda‘s vocals sound stuffy and synthetic throughout. From opener “The Open Boat” to lead single “Dressroom,” the four-track album is full of dreamy synth beats heavy enough to compel listeners to expect a somewhat clearer and lighter to neutralize the sound effects.

But Anda’s voice -- not as unique as Primary claims -- is buried under those synthetic beats, even invoking listeners to check to see if something is wrong with their headphones. Her unpolished and somehow amateur-like vocals, in fact, are tiresome. The producer said, “Her voice is full of various charms,” but it would have been easier for listeners to verify his point if her vocals weren’t muffled into the background.

For example, “Dressroom” is a song that likens “letting go of past memories” to “emptying one’s closet” by wailing “throw it away” in the chorus.

But the song doesn’t sound so cool and free when Anda’s voice lacks power. Rather, the song feels tight and stifling. Anda’s voice sounds most natural in “Zeppelin,” an upbeat song that doesn’t have to rely much on the vocals. 

Primary and Anda -- they don’t make a bad team. It’s just they may not have shown their full potential, or are not exactly a match made in heaven.