When I first pressed play on Judah Kim’s new EP, My Favorite Shuffle, I was struck by the nostalgic bouncy vibe, reminiscent of The Beatles “Martha My Dear” or classic Monkee’s recordings. The guitars on the left and right were playing nearly the same thing but in slightly different rhythms, creating a pinging effect and a wide stereo image. As the singing started, I was delighted by the smooth, almost classical tone of Judah’s voice. The catchiness of the tune and the fun lyrical vibe of this first track were a perfect pair. About three minutes in, there is a break in the lyrics for a series of “Ooh na na na’s,” whose vibe immediately made me think of The Drifter’s classic “Under The Boardwalk.”
My Favorite Shuffle was released on May 26th, 2015 - so it's been around a while, but we're no strangers to oldies but goodies here. As far as a bio goes, Judah Kim served as the songwriter for Indie Rock Band, Stonethrown. From 2005 to 2012 the band reached a sound level of success. Since the band's last effort, Kim has released an EP of solo material called My Favorite Shuffle. All tracks were recorded at his project studio Scarlet Oak Sound and were performed almost entirely without other musicians. Kim says his aim with My favorite Shuffle was "to reveal his range as a songwriter and continue to learn, through licensing and record sales, about the kind of music that is beneficial to his career and his craft."
Check out the tracklist below to keep up with us!
My Favorite Shuffle Tracklist:
1. Just Because
2. Watching Ships
4. Why don't you Shake that Beautiful Thing!?
Reflecting on the first song, the things that stood out to me the most were his excellent vocal tone and the uniquely fun quality of his writing. My only notable critique so far was that the recording of the drums felt flimsy in comparison to the fullness of the guitars of vocals.
Track two, “Watching Ships,” begins with acoustic guitar and bouncy, folk-y drums. The upbeat melody of the riff immediately catches my attention. Between this song and the last, I could tell that this is the type of artist whose shows probably incite a lot of dancing and happiness. I was impressed by this song before the chorus even hit, and it did not disappoint when it did. The last line of the chorus “…life is hard when you compromise your heart,” is sung with a beautiful, gentle vibrato. In the second chorus the line is accompanied by a beautiful harmony that adds a feeling of being lifted to the tune. Lyrically, this song is incredibly translatable, as it seems to touch on the importance of following a path in life that is led first by your passion. The bluesy vibe of this song compared to the nostalgic vibe of the first one demonstrates clearly the versatility of this artist.
Moving forward, track three begins with acoustic guitar, like track two, but with a much softer recording quality than its predecessor, making me wonder whether it was recorded in a different session than the others. It is a slow, beautiful tune with a dreamy and melancholy vibe. So far this is my favorite of the three for no other reason than the natural impulse that it gives me to close my eyes and sway. There is so much feeling and dynamic range in his voice throughout this song. Lyrically, Judah grabs at the heartstrings with lines like “I want to know the sky…but I’m buries underneath all I fear,” and “I’d rather be in love than feel my broken heart break more.” Throughout the song, there is a gentle sound effect of rain in the background, accompanied by the line “I love the sound of rain.” This was a bold move, but one that was executed with poise that I think adds something quite wonderful to the recording.
I was inclined to chuckle upon first reading the title of track four, “Why Don’t You Shake That Beautiful Thing,” as I was hoping that it would be as fun as the name lead me to believe. It did not disappoint in that regard. Right out of the gate, a bad ass guitar riff with an “Evil Woman” by Hall and Oates vibe rolls smoothly out of the speakers. The overall funky feel of the song makes me think of early Maroon Five or recent Justin Timberlake, especially with the strong falsettos in the chorus. For sure this is a standout track. It virtually could be a different artist than the rest of the album. The riff/solo in the bridge is simply bad ass and got me saying “hell yeah” to myself at my computer. The driving force behind this tune is definitely the funky funky bass!
The final track, “Doc,” has a 1970’s Electric Light Orchestra vibe. The vocals are smooth and pretty. A perfect closer for the EP, this track feels like a sum of elements from the four tracks that came before it. It features moments of bouncy syncopation, smooth pretty parts, and riffy guitar leads. The way this song ends, with a single chord on the keys repeating and fading out, gives the listener a lingering feeling, as if there is more to come.
Hopefully there is!
Overall, Judah Kim did a magnificent job on the record. I’d give the song writing an A+, as well as musicianship. From what I understand, he engineered the album himself and played almost all of the instruments on it as well! I am sure that we can expect to be hearing more from Judah Kim!
Be sure to check out My Favorite Shuffle, and check out Judah Kim's social media below!
Judah Kim: Website // Facebook // Bandcamp