박혜진 Park Hye Jin - 'Before I Die'

7/10

Over the last few years, we have watched as Korean-born but LA-based artist and producer 박혜진 Park Hye Jin offers up a rich and enticing collection of energetic bops that have cemented her as one of the most exciting new names emerging at the moment. But while all of her previous material arrived pre-pandemic, she chose the lockdowns of the last year as the perfect opportunity to record her debut studio album 'Before I Die', a record that sees her in a despondent state but still managing to create an invigorating listen throughout.

From the very start, it is clear that 박혜진 Park Hye Jin has been influenced by the pounding club sound of house and other forms of electronic music, but with clubs shut down for more than a year, she has built an aesthetic that still finds that same euphoric vibe, but has this sadness entangled within it. This quickly becomes the staple sound of 'Before I Die', a release that is searching for a home in which it can be fully appreciated. The sombre mix of lively beats and brooding demeanours give the album a strange and unusual juxtaposition that reflects the same empty energy that many of us felt throughout the last year.

There is this strong self-reflective attitude lining the sides of 'Before I Die', where it feels like 박혜진 Park Hye Jin is trying to find a shred of happiness within herself, but instead finds herself falling back into the anxiety-ridden uncertainly of the pandemic. There is a great power and emotion within this record, something that she has shown before, but never to this extent.

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