Now Playing… is a biweekly column that releases every other Friday at 5 p.m. EST. Every other week, I will spotlight a lesser-known song or artist from a variety of genres. It will be a bit of music analysis, arts education, blogging, and more. Love it or hate it, I won’t let you down at exposing you to the cool art that is being made today from songs, to music videos, to live performances. If you’re also a cool young person constantly on the search for new music, let me supplement your listening diet!

Who is Yoon Jiyoung?

Yoon Jiyoung is a 26-year-old artist under the label Magic Strawberry Sound, which also hosts a variety of other Korean indie artists like SE SO NEON, 10cm, and Silica Gel. I immediately fell in love with Yoon Jiyoung’s airy visuals and her tender sound when I found her album through the label’s Youtube channel. It was the perfect mid-summer track list and a refreshing break from the hot summer heat, even though it was released in spring of this year. If you’re looking to listen to more Korean indie singers, Yoon Jiyoung is definitely one to check out as well as her many talented label mates. 

What’s playing this week?

“You Have To Trust Me!” — Yoon Jiyoung

나의 정원에서 (In My Garden)” — Yoon Jiyoung

Bro, just trust me. These two songs come off of her first full-length 2023 album, In My Garden, and demonstrate the versatility of her artistry. For “You Have To Trust Me!” she channels her bubbly, bright side, but the track is quickly contrasted by others in the album — namely, the more emotionally heavy “In My Garden.” I am not a ballad lover, but even her slower songs have a certain dynamism due to her interesting instrumental backing and the raw feelings she delivers through the way she sings. This is what I think she excels in as a musician. 

우우우린 wwwe” — Yoon Jiyoung 

“wwwe” is one of my top favorites by her and is actually the first song I ever heard by her. It was released in 2019 and I did not realize it was the same artist until writing this (Does that ever happen to you?). In any case, I’m glad to have rediscovered her, since her 2023 album solidified her as one of my top favorite artists of this year. 

Why these songs?

Truthfully, my favorite way to listen to her music is by putting on the album video and letting it play through. It’s so satisfying for my ears to predict the tides of each song as they transition into one another. For me, I enjoy how each track is similar yet different enough to ensure the listening experience is not monotonous, yet comfortable. 

In My Garden

But, for the sake of my deep dive, I chose to analyze two standouts from the album. Let’s begin with the album’s title song “In My Garden.” 

Controversially, I actually highly prefer her other tracks like:

  • Track 1. “어제는 당신 꿈을 꿨어요” 
  • Track 3. “City Seoul”
  • Track 4. “비행기” 

I highly recommend you check these songs out, especially since they are similar to the vibe of other musicians like wave to earth that have recently been trending. But, I digress. 

Despite my preference of other tracks, I think “In My Garden” still best captures who Yoon Jiyoung is as a musician. By the time I reach this song in the album, I welcome the sophisticated tone it brings compared to earlier songs. It feels developed and mature but her singing retains that youthful interest. 

Specifically, her voice sounds a little whiny, but in a nice way — like how a violin can sound sometimes. It combines beautifully with the swelling of instrumentals, and in a way, the two battle to be heard over one another, which emphasizes the devotion that the singer has to a listener who she has given everything to. 

The instrumentals take over, and I really enjoy how this climax happens during the middle of the song, not the end or finale as one would expect. That keeps it interesting, and there’s another upward arc of this before the song concludes. 

You Have To Trust Me!

Now my favorite song off the album is the cheery “You Have To Trust Me!”

It is so light and whimsical, and her unique tone also shines through here — especially with the use of whistling. It is not a complicated rhythm by any means, but it still creates something memorable. 

Moreover, I adore the layered vocals. To me, her higher pitched tone mimics the flute-like whistling and makes it sound a bit childish, as if it’s the theme song for a children’s show. These elements help the song stick in your head, especially with the repetitive line “you have to trust me” and is why it slowly crept into my heart as my favorite. The song is asking the speaker’s lover to trust them, and the sincerity of the emotion mixed with the naive attitude of youth is what makes the song really cute. 


For “wwwe,” I don’t think I have words for how good it is. The reverberation in the song’s intro and the almost tired, or laidback, way that she sings immediately evoked in me a sense that this was a song for the early morning or late night — when nobody is awake except for you and your thoughts. It sounds like the dark emptiness before the sun begins to rise. And, that is precisely when the song is supposed to be, as she sings, “We walk to a city for a moment / And all of the city lights are turned off.” The fact that I didn’t even translate the song at first yet felt the setting of the song so accurately speaks to her musical ability. 

The tiredness in her voice matches so well with how she begins the song when she sings, “You and I, even if it’s not now / We wouldn’t have been lonely / Even if we wave our hands and step back from afar / Maybe we’ll come back to the same place.” Rather than her voice being tired, it’s more of her being resigned, or in denial yet hopeful, about a relationship that doesn’t sound like it’s meant to be. This is especially evident at the end, when she sings, “You aren’t gonna leave me, aren’t gonna leave me / We won’t be lonely” It’s a blend of positivity with sadness that truly captures the complexity of yearning. 


Missed the last rendition of Now Playing…? Read it here!