Released on September 25th, 2019, “Otomen” is Mandopop artist Yoga Lin’s newest single, which will be a part of his upcoming album. Before I really get into the song, I’m going to preface that the first sentence in the MV’s description translates to “MV’s female lead is my wife” – it essentially sets the tone of the song before you even click start.

With an 80s pop influence and dreamy vocals, Yoga Lin’s sweet vocal tone pulls the listener into a serenade. The song starts out pretty lighthearted – with only a piano, a soft guitar, and calm drums. When the chorus begins, the guitar and drums become more energetic. The sound of water dripping also enters the song’s equation. There are also other instruments that come in to play, but I do not recognize them. Yoga Lin’s slightly off-tempo sung chorus both confuses and adds an edge to the song’s otherwise soft, whimsical motions.

The next verse comes in more fleshed than the first. Sounds that were present in the first chorus were carried over into the second verse, with several new ones (ex: a very faint wiggly synth). With the build-up from the second verse, the second chorus hits a lot harder than the first. Yoga Lin ends the chorus with a vocal run and then the instrumental takes over, showing off what sounds like bongos, several modulations and key changes (the song rises), several wiggly synths, and what sounds like the same up and down sound in Twice’s “TT“. All of this happened in the span of 18 seconds. After this short interlude, there is one last chorus. It’s an accumulation of everything that has been shown before, but with a key change – a bit higher than the last two choruses. As the song is coming to an end, Yoga Lin slowly starts transitioning into the outro, but it’s a fake-out. Almost immediately after that, he continues with a slower, more somber pace and everything ends with Yoga going full circle to the tempo he started with.

The lyrics are absolutely adorable, telling us the story of a man who is smitten with love. He reveals this girl all of his dreams and what he plans for their future together (he wants to buy a house and have one or two children). Even though Yoga Lin and his wife are already married, he still talks as if they are just meeting and getting to know each other – as if their love has yet to die a horrible death. He also talks about how even when they’re old, they will still be deeply in love with each other. The song title is officially translated as “Otomen”, but a better translation of the song is probably “Young Girl” or “Teenage Girl”. Although the lyrics are very sweet, “Otomen” actually has a negative connotation for guys who love traditionally girly things. However, it seems Yoga Lin has taken a positive stance on the name. Overall, I think the song is incredibly chill and saccharine.

Read “Otomen”‘s lyrics translated by Vanilla Cupcake for Hallyu+ here

Compared to his last single, “Flame in the Brook“, “Otomen” is a bit different. While “Otomen” is bright, whimsical, dreamy, and a bit upbeat, “Flame in The Brook” is a dark, soothing ballad, with a touch of an uplifting spirit. Although both songs are subdued and laid back, they display it differently.

Flame in the Brook‘ is a single that Yoga Lin released for charity causes. It was done in cooperation with the Beijing I Hear U Charity Fund for deaf children. Because of this, the song has a lot of references on what a deaf child might deal with – the lyrics speak of someone who wants to do so much but is limited by their disability. In Yoga Lin’s description under the video, he talked about how disabled people can overcome difficulties and do amazing things. He hoped that the release of this song and the donations raised through sales would be able to help someone.

I think these two songs show Yoga Lin‘s ambition to portray different sides of himself. With the year-long gap between the two singles, the singer has grown and is ready to show a new person. He continues to learn about himself and what he wants to portray as an artist.

To finish off and bring things back to “Otomen”, it knows what it wants to be, but Yoga Lin expands upon it. Having sweet surprises, yet being an overall easy listen, I believe it’s a great single to start off the promotion for his upcoming album.

Artistic Creativity: 9/10
Music: 9/10
Vocal Quality: 8.5/10


All credits to grainy for context + “Flame in the Brook”‘s lyrics here