Hey everyone! I’m here to review Nell’s latest album, “Slip Away,” with as much seriousness as I can muster (which honestly isn’t hard due to their somber lyrics) being the huge fangirl I am. Unlike most of my K-pop pursuits, Nell is more on the indie/alternative side of things (as opposed to shameless pop) and ohhhh goodness, if you haven’t heard of them yet you’re in for something beautiful. They might not be your cup of tea, but I doubt you’ll be able to deny their talent. You don’t need to understand Korean to understand the emotional meaning behind the songs, and when they do use English, they make it sound effortless. I can’t speak highly enough of this band. So without further babbling, here are my thoughts on “Slip Away.”
- The Ending: “The Ending” has to be one of my favorite songs ever from Nell, and that’s saying a lot because I love almost everything they’ve ever produced. I love the rhythm/delivery of each word, and the one English line is so well placed. Put the two together? You / and I / we both know that / this / has to end / here. Even if you don’t understand the rest of the song, this is the key to the entire thing. All of the lyrics are delivered all in the beginning, with them almost breaking away into pieces at the end. I just love everything about it. This is music at its finest. It’s also really intriguing that they began their album with this song, being that its titled “The Ending.” UGH, I can’t say enough about this and I’m failing to be completely coherent. It’s just good music, no matter the language or genre or whatever.
- Go: I really can’t praise Nell’s use of English adequately. Jong-wan’s pronunciation is pretty much flawless. Heck, scratch the “pretty much.” I can’t say “Go”is my favorite song on the album (I’m not much for the repetition) but it’s nevertheless a great track and it is so extremely classic for the group. It has everything I know Nell to be and that makes me love it.
- In Days Gone By: I freaking love how this is a little more upbeat than usual for the group. It really shows a different side to them. I haven’t seen a translation yet so I can’t vouch for the cheerfulness of the lyrics, but it definitely has a lighter, airier, almost nostalgic feel to it (which makes sense, considering the title). It has a really sweet and beautiful chorus. I really wish I knew what the words meant because the END. Oh. The ticking of the clock and ugh, it’s just lovely and I know the lyrics are completely perfect and fitting but I can’t catch the meaning on my own.
- 그리고, 남겨진 것들 [The Day Before]:
The video indicates this song is about suicide, although the lyrics are ambiguous enough to perhaps be about a breakup. However, I have heard that it is about a friend’s suicide so I’m going with that meaning for myself because it makes a lot of sense and it seems too cheap to say it’s about breakup after your start seeing it through the eyes of that other interpretation. The music/melody is very wistful; it’s melancholy, but not in the boo-boo sense. There is an honest yearning behind everything. The pain of losing someone that way is enough to break your heart. Even still, the song isn’t without hope. It’s just regretful, sorry, and perhaps making an effort to move on. Even if it’s about a breakup, you can tell it’s a bad one. The kind that leaves a huge hole in your existence. DSLFDSJl. I really can’t express how indescribable this group is. It might take a few listens before this song really starts sinking in, but once it does it’s there for the long run.
- Standing In The Rain: I love how the clapping is used as both a stand-in for rain and percussion. And when this song gets going… every time I end up feeling surprised for some reason. It just bursts into a lovely, lovely song. You really need to read the translation to get the full meaning, but even without know what it’s about it’s still a beautiful song. But WOW, those lyrics! THANKS FOR DESCRIBING THE PROS AND CONS OF TIME AND MEMORY, GUYS. That’s a vast generalization, but it really seems like that’s a component to this song. Rain is a symbol for the passage of time, and how we can’t control it; we just have to deal with it and remember what we can, the good and the bad. That’s what I’m getting out of it now, that is. It’s too dumb to say, “YEAH, THAT’S THE MEANING AND GOODNIGHT!”
- Loosing Control: This song is so close to being perfectly perfect English except for the title. I’m still allowing that it might be intentional, but it seems they meant, “losing,” like in “losing my mind,” not “loosing,” like in “loosing a knot.” Other than that, this song is entirely in English and it’s just as meaningful as the other tracks, even if it is really simple. It has some “strong” language but it’s well placed. The music is simple as well, but I’d say it goes with the song.
- Beautiful Stranger: This is another song entirely in English. It’s really fantastic, ugh. I personally prefer the Korean tracks because I have an intense love for the Korean language, but it’s a testament to the band’s talent that they can do well with both. There is some serious rhyming (strange / same / cage / same / shamed / blame / name / came / same) which is a little “easy” if a native English speaker pulled the same stunt, but it doesn’t sound bad in the song and it works fine. The music goes right along with the rest of the album. I’d say it’s not the strongest track, but I still love it.
- Cliff Parade: This song is such a Nell song. Is it the drums? I don’t know. It could be easily from any of the other albums (especially “Separation Anxiety”), but it also has a new/fresh feel to it as well. Considering the overall familiar feeling, there isn’t a lot to say about it. It’s a great track though, and perfect if you want a new “old” Nell song.
- Hopeless Valentine: For some reason the title annoys me, but I adore this song so I can overlook it. Unlike the “Cliff Parade,” I definitely feel this song has a new vibe to it that is pretty different for Nell. And ohhhh the beginning. I love it. Not that I don’t love the middle or end, but it has a great buildup to the chorus. It has a nice motion to it, somehow.
- Slip Away: Nell tends to be really good with how they end their albums. This isn’t an exception. This song, the one the album is named after, is utterly gorgeous. It’s not complicated or anything. It’s just there and beautiful and deep and… it’s emotional and it has so much to it. You just feel it all. If you haven’t gotten this from all my writing so far, this is a group that can convey meaning from every corner of their abilities. The mix of sounds… I don’t know. Everything works together, yet separately? I don’t know!
It’s not the
Loneliness that is left alone,
The tear stained heart,
The one and only truth,
It’s the sorrowfulness that everything that will be forgotten
I swell up at my image even erasing the memories
The image that I would get so familiar with
Translation by jellythecake @musictology
Although I’ve listened to this album a lot already, I can’t say definitively it’s my favorite Nell Album. I think “Healing Process” probably will always be my favorite (simply because there are 16 songs on there and all of them are incredible), but really? All of Nell’s albums are great and I recommend all of them. This one included. Completely. It’s so close to perfection it should be a crime.