Fromm’s Erica, and Oregon Week


Because I’m the kind of person who posts things once every three months now, I meant to write about Fromm‘s EP Erica last week for Hellokpop. Didn’t quite have the time to do that, so just jotting down a few thoughts:

  • It’s good. Personal (positive) bias aside, there’s both preservation and innovation here. The big and sweeping instrumentation of Arrival is audible in a few places, while the forlorn tension of lead “서로의 조각” (“Pieces of You and Me”) is something I haven’t heard from her before (Giriboy appears on the track, and fits right in in a way that I never expected from the mellow-but-still-attitudinal producer.)  Like any Fromm release, the thing is held together by a great feel for melody.
  • There’s a sense of comfortable seclusion in listening to Erica. Lyrically and sonically, both “반짝이던 안녕” (“Our Sparkling Beginning”) and “Pieces” build a wall around the listener. Hyper-focused arrangements that eliminate background sound, intimate dialogue that creates separation between the narrator-listener pair and everything else. It’s not a wall in the imposing sense of the word – more like a tall, trimmed hedge, enough to create insulation but also creating an inviting space. (The opening line for the HKP review was going to be “Have you ever been inside a garden lined with hedges?”.)
  • My favorite track is pre-release single “달의 뒤편으로 와요” (“Come to the Back Side of the Moon”), which has a breathtaking chorus sung by about 50 fans. Fromm put out an open invite on social media for fans to send in their voices; I would have totally done this IF I HAD ACTUALLY SEEN THE INVITE BEFORE THE DEADLINE PASSED. FGHIEOWHOIGHOIBW WHY. Turns out the Facebook feed algorithm wants to show me every post from her except for the most important one. My chance to be on the production credits for a Fromm album will have to wait.
  • Lots of pretty shots of Hokkaido in the album jacket. I bought the iTunes copy because I didn’t want to pay for physical shipping this time around, but I had to think about it.
  • One critical note: I’m starting to think that rich (or at least, significant) instrumentation is more necessary to make Fromm’s music work than I had expected. Maybe it’s a melody thing and maybe it’s the voice, but the austere “Blue Night” is by far the least engaging song here – and that was similarly true of the acoustic mix of “좋아해” (“Like You”) from Moonbow, despite the fact that the original undoubtedly had great composition. It’s not necessarily a knock – Fromm has proven adept at arranging her songs for best effect – but it does make me wonder about a comment she made in a recent interview, saying she plans for her next album to be really laid back.

Last Friday was a lot of fun, and may or may not have had something to do with why the Erica review didn’t get written. There’s been plenty written elsewhere already about the win over Stanford, but from my perspective it was simply the most dominant, complete performance I’ve ever seen from Washington in my six years as a fan. The program is back in the national spotlight and it’s a brave new (old) world.

By any measurable standard, the Oregon visit should be a slaughter. But it’s rivalry week, the Ducks are backed into a corner, Mark Helfrich is potentially coaching for his job, and the UO offense has enough skill-position talent to turn the corner on any given week. The one spread offense Washington has seen this year gave them some trouble. They’re starting a true freshman at quarterback who’s played basically one drive this season. I think that in a rivalry game, anything that introduces uncertainty is seen as a bad thing by nervous fans; I still expect a comfortable win, but I wouldn’t be shocked by anything that happens.

That said, if they fumble this away to a bad squad and Oregon’s streak goes to 13 in literally the very first game after Washington justifies the hype, I’m going to break something.

(I’ve seen some opinions that if Washington wins, fans should act like it’s no big deal that the streak has just been broken; Oregon is a bad team this year, it should be expected, and it should feel like we’ve been there before. I can see that, and frankly this game somehow doesn’t feel anywhere near as big as 2013 – when Oregon was elite and UW had what was thought to be a realistic upset chance – or even 2015 with an UO team on the downswing. I’m still going to celebrate the streak being broken. Maybe y’all been there before, but I haven’t.)


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