Solos for this year have been pretty focused on Girls’ Generation, particularly 2/3 of the super group’s sub-unit. They have been fine (see what I did there?) but they are making me say no (sorry, girls!).
Let’s start with Seohyun’s “Don’t Say No”. There’s nothing really wrong with the song – the 90s urban-pop formula is never a bad idea but it doesn’t really have anything new to offer. Red Velvet even has a slightly more interesting take on Seohyun’s title track which is pretty embarrassing because this means that even an RV b-side can easily outdo Don’t Say No.
The EP has some great cuts though. “Magic” is a slinky RnB ditty while “Love and Affection” is a standout thanks to its peculiar production.
Speaking of polished, Taeyeon’s comeback is one. I’ll have to laud the rest of the album though – it’s like a combination of her previous EPs, with more tracks from “I” dominating the list. I’ve always imagined Taeyeon’s solo career to be a little more on the pop-rock/adult contemporary lane so I guess I’m liking the b-sides in “My Voice”.
BTW, the sinister +jazzy vibe of “I Got Love” would have been a great comeback concept. Too bad it’s relegated to pre-release status.
Evil queen Taeyeon slays
My problem is with that title track. “Fine” at its best, it sounds like something a Disney or Nick teen star would release. Or worse, a post-American Idol pop debut.
That’s not fine if you ask me. Just when you thought that there couldn’t be as crowd-pleasing as 11:11 (which I like, btw), wait until you give “Fine” a spin.
Well, to remedy the cookie-cutter SNSD solos, here’s an extremely impressive one to a point that it flew over the heads of everyone, including mine.
Dal Shabet’s Subin has acquired the reputation of being that member who can produce and write her own music. She reportedly composed and produced the group’s misunderstood (literally and figuratively) 2015 jam “Joker” as well as the other tracks in the EP where that song about dicks belongs.
She has been releasing solo stuff since last year, and while most of them are pretty great and shows a different side of her capacity as a performer, it’s in Circle’s Dream where she tries to up the notch a bit.
Circle’s Dream is so simple by the book but it’s for the same reason that it becomes peculiar. The production is so sparse but the good thing about that that it makes way for the luscious harmonies and Subin’s vocal chops to creep in effectively. It also helps that the “dum dara diri dum” which she repeatedly chants in the chorus is catchy af, especially when you watch it with the video.
dum dara diri dum *makes circles using fingers*
The lyrics are pretty interesting too. Subin takes the role of a plain Jane who laments as to how she lacks that certain edginess (hence, calling herself the circle) that her former lover has, considering how easy it was for him to hurt her.
Don’t worry Subin, nice girls finish last so continue being a circle and you’ll eventually have someone to roll with.
Another thing, the song may remind you a little bit of Adele’s “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” and to some extent Lorde’s songs but they’re pretty great influences for a solo in K-Pop because we don’t get to hear that a lot here.
“Strawberry” is another great track from Subin’s EP
It would have also been nice if Subin gets to promote “Circle’s Dream” in music shows because I think it can catch up with the public, especially if she performs it with that hand-spinning choreo but Happyface can only do so much.
Oh and speaking of great solos, Suzy’s “Yes No Maybe” was JYP perfection and a big fuck u to those who slept on it. I guess Korea wants their Bae Suzy to be basic and virginal. Well, she Wong Kar Wai’d y’all so you’re basically the same person that she cut into half in the video, lol.
Also, Krystal’s collab track with June One Kim is what I want for her official debut. Make it happen, hipster aesthetic queen! Threaten to leave SM if they insist otherwise, just kidding I still want f(x) for 2017.