Jessica – “Fly” Review

Jessica – Fly (Music Video)

Jessica ft. Fabolous – Fly

on May 21, 2016

Personal Message:
And right when I wondered if there
would be more comebacks to review, I received my answer: There are many. I was
amidst reviewing a recent ballad (and within it, I hope, is an interesting
social discussion), but blatantly, plans have changed. Although that ballad
will be finished after this, indeed I am going to suddenly switch over to
review Jessica’s first song—her first song as “Jung Jessica” and not “Girls’
Generation’s Jessica.” (I will discuss this later as some may be curious on my
take. And yes, background will be provided in case readers have no idea.)
Furthermore to complicate the mess I am in, I do want to review AOA’s “Good
Luck,” the ladies’ latest comeback. Especially as it is their first song at all
that is not produced by Brave Sound, it would be interesting to dive into that.
(And there is a social discussion that could take place.) However, as some
readers may know, I do want to focus May on solely artists who have yet to be
reviewed and thus, may delay AOA’s review until June. We will see how this all
falls into place. On topic, though, let us focus on the artist at hand: Jessica.

First of all, admittedly I have not
been following news regarding Jessica; ever since finishing Jessica & Krystal, my favorite
reality show—and of which made me bawl a river down my face and onto my propped
up arms—I have not been keeping track of Jessica at all. At most is the news of
her “leaving” Girls’ Generation. (Notice the quotation marks. Please do not
misinterpret this word as me implying Jessica’s responsible for actually taking
action of leaving; I am using this word to simply get the message across. This topic
will be discussed below.) Otherwise, I have not been reading up on news
regarding her and her activities and thus, this song came as a very huge
surprise. But indeed, it is a welcomed surprise. I have always wondered if
Jessica would return to singing, and I now have my answer. Besides, it would be
a shame to lose her voice and singing skills so I am glad she did release her
own song.

That said, I am quite excited to
deconstruct “Fly” as, from my understanding of reading interviews, this song
has Jessica’s full input; how the song sounds and plays out are all to
Jessica’s discretion. In a group, this would be impossible if not due to
members disagreeing but also due to a label company making the ultimate
decisions. But then again, Jessica is in fact still under a label company: she
is working with Coridel Entertainment. Point is, Jessica’s input have all been
considered and therefore, “Fly” is in many ways a song that is representative
of Jessica’s music—this being something that makes this review even more
relevant (at least to me) as it is directly analyzing an idol’s hard work and
creativity. If all of this is still irrelevant to readers, then at least I
cannot be disagreed with when I say that “Fly” is the talk of many—fans and
music critiques—and thus, the review is still important in the usual sense.

Personal spouting aside (feel free
to skip to the review now), for a small digression that is to occur, although I
will not be investing much time here as this discussions falls into K-Pop news
and not sociology (the latter being, in my opinion, much more relevant to
readers on the basis of us being societal living human beings as the former is
just moreover entertainment), I do want to share my take on the very old
controversy: Jessica “leaving” Girls’ Generation. For background, as many
readers should know, Jessica is a former member of Girls’ Generation—a group
that is oftentimes deemed the “Queens of K-Pop” along with other female artists.
That said, though I believe I have shared my stance before about Jessica
departing from Girls’ Generation, this time around I will be much more thorough
in my explanations and even tackle certain provocative questions.

Before diving into the more complex
questions, let us weed out the simpler ones. The first one is perhaps what is
still going on two years (if correct) after the incident: Did Jessica leave the group? The emphasis
here is regarding who was in control of the outcome: Jessica, Girls’
Generation, or SM Entertainment? I have said this already, but it will be
repeated once again: we, as in us fans and audiences, will never know. Perhaps
in the far future when Girls’ Generation is retired and similarly the members
have individually retired, one might finally reveal the whole story (due to a
lack of repercussions at that point). Fans asking this question are essentially
asking if dogs sincerely feel love; evidence may exist on both sides, but in
the end, no one will ever quite know if dogs feel “love,” or the people who are
responsible for Jessica’s departure from the group. And truly said: does it
matter? Though I have been much harsher in the past such as with bashing boys with “privilege jokes”—refer
to many reviews in which I discuss and challenge male privilege
, it
does appear that no one has asked this somewhat rude yet important question.

Does it matter if we know who is
responsible? Say it was Jessica who made the decision and left her members
crying and begging her to stay. Though I can see the impact of such on fans’
respect, it seems to have no effect on the actual outcome of Jessica staying or
not. Likewise, if Girls’ Generation voted to kick Jessica as it would be best
for both parties, ignoring fans’ reactions, wouldn’t the outcome be identical?
This mixing and meshing can be played all day, and in the end, the same result
holds: decisions were made, and the people responsible are not as relevant as
facing what did happen. Certainly, though,
I do believe that this entire incident was desired to be avoided in the first
place: Girls’ Generation would want to keep Jessica if it was possible to;
Jessica would have desired to remain a part of the group if it was possible to;
and SM Entertainment would have wished to keep Jessica a part of the group if
it was possible to. This situation is far from wanted and thus, finding culprits
to blame is meaningless as none of them truly wanted this event to even occur.
Who would?

With the more basic layer out of the
way, for the more complex questions, one is: Are group idols’ relationships
fake? Now this is a question definitely worth critically engaging with and
perhaps it can extend beyond K-Pop news and moreover into pop culture in
general. Sharing my answer (and to answer this question before diving into even
more complicated ones), I strongly doubt friendships in groups are “for the
cameras.” However, that said, the degree of said friendships can definitely
vary—but indeed I do assert that there are very few if any fake friendships in
groups. Explaining why I believe so, let us first focus on Jessica and Girls’
Generation. In recent news, Jessica has shared that she does keep in contact
with some members. Not all, but some. The others she admits she no longer talks
to at all. What does this mean? It means for sure there are genuine
relationships that are built, but simultaneously, if the former claim is to be
deemed true, then this is also definite proof that some relationships might
have been “faked.” Or is that so? Let us take our attention to “faking”

To explain why “faking
relationships” may not quite be the case, I will use multiple examples. We will
equate Girls’ Generation to, for readers’ understanding and perhaps even
relatedness, a sports team—or any team for that matter. (If simpler, just think
of Girls’ Generation as a music group team—this being what they are.) With this
now in mind, let us think of a basketball team—professional, school, it doesn’t
matter specifically. Everyone on the team are essentially friends; there may be
some bickering among the ladies and even some occasional fights, but all can be
considered friends. Why? They all share the same goal: to win—in Girls’
Generation’s case, their win is to reach high popularity, flourish financially,
and to have fans’ love and respect. This is all great, but what happens when said
goal is gone, such as when the group or team disbands? The sad truth: not every
member will keep in touch as friends. In fact, some members may no longer even
view certain members as friends but rather as former working partners or former
teammates. Since I am focused moreover on disciplines of English, education and
sociology, I cannot make psychological comments on this case. But point is, it
does seem that once a teamwork mentality is gone, friendships that were founded
on such will break apart as that very foundation is now gone. This is not
inherently atrocious; if the members have left on good terms with each
other—respecting one another’s decisions and enjoying the time spent together
working—there is no problem at all. Since this may all still be confusing,
perhaps a personal anecdote may help.

Although I am questioning if I
should share this story, to be honest with readers and to hopefully elicit some
readers laughing at me, I was once on a team—a very special team. (If there are
any left, readers who have been here since my newbie reviews may know what I am
embarrassingly hinting at.) Indeed, if I am not nerdy and pitiful enough today,
I was even more so in the past. Hard to imagine, I know. I used to play on an
“esports” team—in other words, a team for playing video games competitively
with tournaments and all. Yes this is where laughing can occur. And readers thought
that I currently have no life. Think again! (Despite my many regrets of
participating in that, I actually do appreciate the amount of time invested
into esports as it taught me a lot about leadership, people management,
responsibility, and so forth. Also, esports may become a norm in the far
future. Besides, it has all the traits of “standard” sports: sexist, racist,
homophobic, ableist slurs, unfairly dominated by boys, that women’s sports need
to receive much more attention and respect in juxtaposition to men’s, and—is
this going too far? Let us save this for another review.)

My blush-inducing background aside,
Jessica’s relationship with Girls’ Generation is something I can perfectly
understand and for why I oppose that “fake friendships” were made. It has been
two years since I last played on the esports team. Initially after disbandment
I did keep in touch with the members. Fast forward to now, to no surprise, I no
longer contact them and vice-versa. At most I do still talk to one member, but
that is because she would occasionally invite me for a game or two. Even then,
our contact is that of working partners—of being teammates—than of genuine
friendships where we would discuss how our lives have been going. This is
similar if not an exact replica of what may be going on among Jessica and
Girls’ Generation members. I was certainly close with all of the members and I
confidently say we did very much care about each other and more so than just as
teammates. However, once the team disbanded and we no longer shared the common
goal of improving and winning matches, as seen, the friendships have stopped.
Translating this to Girls’ Generation’s and Jessica’s case, they all were very
likely genuinely close, but with parting ways, it just happens that
relationships are lost. But as noticed, was I “faking” my relationships with my
former teammates? Not at all. Was Jessica? Very likely not as well. In Girls’
Generation, all may have been close, but once splitting ways, their
relationships have been lost—and as noticed, not due to any malicious acts at
all. Rather, it is just how it goes if the relationship was founded on the
group, and said group is now gone. (Readers who are knowledgeable in psychology
should feel free to make a fool out of me and rip apart my argument if my
reasons are entirely false. I would love to be respectfully destroyed.)

Randomly pulling in another example,
even groups that are known to be very close to each other—MAMAMOO for
example—may one day face the same circumstances. With MAMAMOO sharing their
initial negative experiences of each other (minus those who have known each
other prior to MAMAMOO being made) but have, over time, begun to sincerely love
one another, as seen by the ladies providing very healthy relationship examples
such as with MoonSun,
the dating couple of Solar and Moonbyul—and yes, I very much went there with
MAMAMOO “shipping” jokes, and of which I will one day seriously discuss in a
sociological context
, it would seem impossible for the ladies to part
ways after MAMAMOO retires. But, as discussed all above, the members may no
longer be as close once their glue—their goal of reaching popularity and so
on—is gone. Now MAMAMOO may indeed stay close—and relating to Jessica, as
Jessica is with certain members—however, likewise MAMAMOO may also drift apart.
And that is not automatically bad at all, as discussed. Overall, the main
argument I am asserting is that the “fake friendship” and “Girls’ Generation
are fake women” comments lose much of their grounding once my explanation is
ran through.

Since this discussion has gone for
an unexpected length, let me summarize what has been so far covered: Regarding
the incident itself, we will never know—or at least not until maybe ten more
years or so—the truth behind Jessica’s departure from Girls’ Generation. Was it
the members’ decision, SM Entertainment, or Jessica? In the end, fans will
never know and, as discussed, this mystery is rather irrelevant. For the next
part covered, I explained why the ladies’ relationships were very likely not fake. The “group mentality” is the
reason for their closeness and now the lack thereof for certain members and

Ultimately, for what may conclude
this discussion and for what may make this all relevant to us as consumers of
pop culture, we all might wonder: should
groups, in the first place, be entirely honest with their members’
relationships? I will unfortunately not dive into this, even though it is
arguably the most important topic out of this whole digression. Some aspects to
consider may be whether idols should provide a depiction of healthy
relationships—even if truthfully that is not, or if honesty is to be valued over
all else, and thus, idols should act earnestly. Readers will have to decide
this for themselves. If there is anything I hope to share with readers, it is
that there is seldom a single answer. Be it in my reviews or social
digressions, I hope I showcase that topics are never about good and bad, right
and left; debates and topics are about looking up and down. It is about
understanding multiple perspectives.

I claimed I would not talk for long
about standard K-Pop news, but then again, when I have ever not excessively
talked about anything? From dogs to sexism to makeup to White privilege, that
seems to be the case. Jokes and discussion aside, we should now focus on the
review itself. Biasedly, I do find myself enjoying “Fly,” but I admit: this
song is lackluster from a critical lens. In fact, “Fly” is the first song in
which a specific category has scored incredibly low—the prior lowest record was
five if I recall accurately. All that said, while Jessica is absolutely flying
despite her huge struggles, sadly the same cannot be said for “Fly.” It very
much is losing altitude, and no amount of tears I shed during Jessica & Krystal will change that.


Song Score: 6/10
(5.50/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”

Vocals: 7/10

Sections: 6/10
(5.50/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse,
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Bridge,
Rap, Chorus, Conclusion (Post-Chorus)

1.     Introduction:

2.     Verse: 6/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 6/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 5/10

6.     Bridge: 5/10

7.     Rap: 4/10

8.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 6/10

Instrumental: 3/10

Section Distribution: X/10


Equal Value: X sections per member.  

Lyrics: 6/10

Invisible in the fog
I have to find myself, yeah
The hope in that small light,
just by thinking about it, you’ll find it

When I hold my hand out to that high place,
it feels like I can touch it
Days I looked forward to, are they closer now?
I can draw it in the sky

Just spread your wings to the end
Follow the sound of your heartbeat
Close your eyes, spread out your dreams
You’re a hero you can fly
You can fly

Whoa whoa whoa
You’re a hero you can fly
Whoa whoa whoa
You can fly

A world that you’ve never seen before
will appear before you
Fly above the clouds
‘cause your wings are made to fly

When I hold my hand out to that high place,
it feels like I can touch it
Days I looked forward to, are they closer now?
I can draw it in the sky

Just spread your wings to the end
Follow the sound of your heartbeat
Close your eyes, spread out your dreams
You’re a hero you can fly
You can fly

Whoa whoa whoa
You’re a hero you can fly
Whoa whoa whoa
You can fly

I won’t cry now
I won’t give up
I won’t lose, I won’t lose
Oh no no no no no

Yeah, let’s go, Jess
You should’ve never doubted yourself
Matter of fact you should be proud of yourself
’cause you had to find a way to go about it yourself
Nobody gave you direction, had to route it yourself
And you never got lost, losing’s not an option
No time for L’s, no time to fail
Winning like Steph Curry and them we warriors
Haters wanna see me in a Crown Victoria
But I’m in a Benz, a.c. on 70
Won’t lose my cool gotta move cleverly
Chess not checkers playing it with strategy
Me and Jessica: that’s a win automatically

Just spread your wings to the end
Follow the sound of your heartbeat
Close your eyes, spread out your dreams
You’re a hero you can fly
You can fly

Whoa whoa whoa
You’re a hero you can fly
Whoa whoa whoa
You can fly

Choreography Score: */10 (x/10 raw score)

– Syncing: */10

– Key Points: */10

is a dance according to the music video, but since as of this sentence (May 17) I am
personally unsure on whether Jessica will be releasing a dance practice, dance
version, or even live performances, I will skip analyzing it.

Overall Score: */10
(x/10 raw score)


Analysis: Highlighting
fun facts, the Song Score and Sections category both manage to earn a six by a
mere decimal. On topic with the song, let us look at what I hinted earlier: the
lowest rating out of all reviews (to date) in a certain category. Which
category? The instrumental. First to clarify, contrary to many, the sound of
the instrumental is not at fault; how the instrumental itself sounds
individually with its heavier bass and lighter piano keys are not bad at all. The
instrumental can absolutely hold its own without Jessica’s vocals. Furthermore,
and for what many have critiqued, the lack of “middle sounds” in the
instrumental is nothing inherently bad at all. Reason being is that this aspect
is moreover stylistic and thus, should not be critiqued in of itself. For example, there are songs out there where the
instrumental is heavily focused on higher notes and the middle and lower notes
are minimal to nonexistent. This is not an issue; it is merely the style of the
song. Claiming an instrumental that lacks a balance of sound pitches is
mediocre would be to critique style and not quality—the actual functions that
are happening. Translating this idea over, it is unfair to claim that the
instrumental in “Fly” is poor due to it merely
not having middle pitched sounds. Now, to clarify once again, if one were to
expand this point, then perhaps a critique can be made—and this is where I will
continue. In other words, while many people are right to point out the
instrumental lacks middle sounds, ending the conversation there is insufficient.
For where my argument comes in with this aspect of the instrumental, I do agree
that the lack of middle sounds is problematic—but not in of itself. Lacking of
synchronicity between vocals and instrumental is where issues occur, and the
lack of middle sounds in the instrumental is one culprit.

we are to closely tune in with the instrumental while Jessica is singing, there
is a noticeable “gap”: the heavier bass line is on the bottom and Jessica’s
vocals are at the top. Certainly one could dismiss this as stylistic, but I
will take the risk and say that it is more than style at this point. The
instrumental is simply overwhelming once coupled with Jessica’s voice. Rather
than two aspects combining and giving a cohesive, clean sound, there is
dissonance. In many ways, “Fly” begins to sound as if there are two songs in
one during the choruses and pre-choruses: the instrumental song and the singing
song. This, indeed, starts becoming an issue. Middle sounds might have been
able to connect the two, but as of now, the instrumental is very much unsuitable
to the vocals and conversely. Lastly to add to the dissonance issue—if we
should use that term—is how even simple syncing fails to occur. Jessica’s
belting during the choruses and her lines at the post-choruses appear to
perfectly accommodate correctly timed bass lines, but instead, “Fly” opts to
not sync the bass line to Jessica’s singing—another point that leads to
dissonance. Overall, the instrumental in “Fly” in of itself is perfectly fine,
but once accounting for its role in the entire song and with the vocals and
sections, it becomes incredibly lacking and in many ways fails to fulfill its
basic role.

the biggest criticism out of the way, and before returning to the other weaker
point, let us focus on one of the strengths: the lyrics. Before resuming a
neutral, serious tone, I do want to credit Jessica’s message in “Fly,” and
also, to simply appreciate how Jessica did not give up despite her significant
setbacks—of which seems to be reflected in the lyrics. That aside, the lyrics
are decent. Ignoring the lyrics’ meaning—something that is entirely subjective
and thus will be avoided in grading—the score is at a six for two main reasons:
creative ideas that are, sadly, muddled by repetition. Explaining the first
reason, by gauging just solely the details, “Fly” seems rather creative. The
rap, for example, is full of many intriguing and witty points and rhymes, and
other parts, such as the choruses, are equally with details. Additionally, the
overall plot of “Fly,” if “plot” is appropriate, can be deemed unique. After
all, it is not about heartache or falling in love. As for the downside,
repetition unfortunately prevents the lyrics from a would-be seven. With every
section minus the verses and rap not being individually unique, “Fly” ‘s
charming details are no longer so as it all becomes mundane. If the
post-choruses, for example, were more than the usual “whoa” and “oh,” or if the
bridge was more than basic phrases, perhaps this issue of repetition would be

the vocals and sections are left to discuss, but since I do want to end on a
positive point (and for a concluding point, not so that the review ends
favorably), we will now glance at the latter—and indeed, this is hinting that
the sections are not a strong point
to the song. Now with that said, many may be keen to notice some potential hypocrisy:
the lyrics, a six, were rendered “decent,” and yet the sections, a six, are
suddenly not equally praised. That sounds biased and hypocritical. Although
statistically it is true that the sections are a six, this very argument can be
reversed: as said much earlier in the review, it should be noted that the
sections category is only a decimal away from being a five—average. But, even
without playing around with numbers, the sections themselves are far from
stellar. It is Jessica’s vocals that very much allow them to thrive, hence why
I do consider the category weaker than the lyrics even if statistically they
are equal.

example, the verses, pre-choruses, and choruses progress well—if only tracking
the vocals. Otherwise the progression is dull and, furthermore, is rather inconsistent.
The transition from the verse to pre-chorus does not exist as both sections are
exceptionally similar, and yet the transition from the pre-chorus to chorus is
very much noticeable. Besides minor transition issues, there is also the
problem in the sections themselves. Take the post-choruses as example. These
sections are the epitome of standard post-choruses: reusing words of “whoa” and
“oh” in a cycle. Again as discussed before, that format in of itself is far
from flawed; there is nothing wrong at all for a song to repeat “la la” for example.
However, the execution and placement matters, and in “Fly,” it comes off as too
plain considering the already disconnected vocals and instrumental and the
stagnant, inconsistent progression of the song. Other sections could also be
discussed, such as the rap being misplaced and overall not matching up to the
style of the song, or how the bridge akin to the post-choruses with being too
standard in form, but I believe the main ideas are covered.

on the positive point, and explaining why I chose to do so, the vocals will
finally be discussed. Quite directly: Jessica is a solid singer. From her
beltings throughout nearly all of the sections to sharp, crisp vocals at the post-choruses
to lower, passive singing at the bridge, Jessica’s singing is what allows “Fly”
to not utterly fall from the sky. And for why this is relevant to consider:
critiquing “Fly” is in no way to critique Jessica’s singing. Oftentimes “vocals”
and “song” are misconstrued as synonymous, but that is clearly far from true.
Nevertheless, this does show that it takes more than Jessica’s singing for a
song to thrive: it also takes excellent composing on the other categories. And
true Jessica may have had much influence on the other parts, but it can still
be said that Jessica is indeed an impressive singer. On topic, Jessica’s vocals
remain extremely versatile in “Fly” as discussed above. Within the song, she is
able to show off a diverse range of pitches, but also that of styles and
intensity. Truly, if not for this single aspect to “Fly,” much of the song—if not
all—would falter.

the end, Jessica’s first song still scores decently, but indeed it is far from
a comfortable standing as anything lowered—even a mere change in a section’s
score—would bring “Fly” to an average instead of slightly above average (a six).
The vocals are worth admiring and somewhat the lyrics, but in truth I do admit
to being slightly disappointed with the sections, and very much the
instrumental’s lack of syncing to the song in whole. Nonetheless, it is a song worth
enjoying and respecting given all the work Jessica invested towards it. And
though the following words may somehow be taken as controversial, I do consider
Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany’s own solo debut as equal to Jessica’s. Rather than
fighting over who has the better song, as Tiffany herself said: let us instead
be supportive to anyone—Jessica or Tiffany—who works to bring music to fans.
Focusing on Jessica, however, I will leave with saying I highly look forward to
her future songs, and I only expect her to improve from hereon.


I always say, thank you for reading. Unfortunately this review became delayed
for a total of three days. Originally, May 18 was when it would be finished,
but due to delays with taking my girl to the vet and preparing to register for
summer classes, this review was pushed back. Nonetheless it is here. Many
reviews are to come, and many important topics are to be covered. (And I have
heard of the recent tragic in South Korea where a schizophrenic male murdered a
woman out of sexist hatred. I will try to cover the sad news in a review and to
discuss why this incident matters to us all.) In terms of when the next review
will come or what it even will be on, I plan on finishing the ballad review I
started. But, I might abruptly change plans once again. There are little days
left in May, but do expect at the least one more to come before the month ends.
(I am aiming for two more.) Besides, as Jessica says: “Just spread your wings
to the end” so that you can fly-fast-enough-to-write-two-reviews-in-time. Look
forward to whatever is to come.