Change Myself

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Change Myself is the debut album for Iconiq, but only as a solo artist. Previously known as Ayumi Lee, Iconiq was one of the members of K-pop group Sugar before striking out on her own. Since Iconiq is an Avex artist, the sound is almost predetermined: light female vocal pop with a strong basis in modern instrumentation -- synths exist, but are often hidden behind orchestral sweeps, drum machines, and touches of industrial aesthetics. After a cutesy introduction, the album moves into straightforward vocal pop territory. Iconiq's voice is somewhat standard, without the extreme power of a Christina Aguilera or the intriguing touches of a Kumi Koda yet. What she does well, however, is fit into a strong arrangement, becoming part of electro beats in "LoveShineMagic," becoming the overarching melodic line in the popping "Bye Now" (which also holds some parallels with Janet Jackson's part in Busta Rhymes' "What It's Gonna Be"). She can do softer ballads, as in "No Distance," or faster R&B runs as in "ID" (which includes Verbal, half of the great duo m-flo). There are some surprisingly high points here, given Iconiq's tendency to melt into the melody, but that act of melting seems to be just right to showcase her voice, as in the excellent "Crystal Girl." At the same time, a garage rock rendition of Madonna's "Like a Virgin" falls extremely flat, though Iconiq's vocals do a fairly good job with the material. An excellent romp for Iconiq's first solo shot.