Lips On Lips
Of all the Girls’ Generation members, Tiffany Young is probably the one with the most international appeal.
The Korean-American ticks all the K-pop crossover boxes: She speaks flawless English, has an easygoing California girl-next-door vibe and commands a respectable global fan base.
If anything, her departure from SM Entertainment – where she spent a good decade with Girls’ Generation and released I Just Wanna Dance, an Ariana Grande-esque solo mini album – to pursue a States-side pop career can be seen as a natural progression of sorts.
In starting fresh as a pop starlet, the 29-year-old has released a number of radio-friendly tracks (the anthemic Over My Skin, sassy Teach You and bilingual holiday track Peppermint). All that culminates with the release of her US debut EP Lips On Lips – a five-track project as multifarious as the sweet selection at a Dylan’s Candy Bar store.
The title track is an addictively playful romantic ode while opener and lead single Born Again takes Young’s artistry to darker terrains with themes about trials and redemption.
While the lyrical content of the latter track is a nice shift from the bubblegum pop of Girls’ Generation, it is marred by an unnecessary over-the-top production and terrible enunciation.
That inability to convey clear vocalisation is the biggest problem with Young as a pop star. Articulation often takes a backseat next to her vocal style that straddles between airy coos and sultry falsettos.
It’s a shame really because The Flower, a perfectly good synth-driven number about personal struggles where Young offers a deeper glimpse of her artistry, is ruined by the fact that you don’t know what the hell she is singing half the time.
Elsewhere, Not Barbie with its blink-and-you-miss country tinge; and 90s R&B throwback Runaway (a duet with R&B superstar Babyface); are pretty vanilla by today’s pop standards.
There are the makings of a commercially accessible pop star here, but Young still needs lessons about technique.