Released: January 17, 2017
Girls’ Generation starlet Seohyun has decided to spread her wings within the land of countless and limitless refugees of K-Pop land, and released her debut EP Don’t Say No. To her credits, she’s in fact the third member from the glorious 8-member group to have released one; we had two shots by Taeyeon, who managed to penetrate well-produced pop anthems threw both efforts (homerun to Ms. Taeyeon). Then we had American-Korean poppet Tiffany, who’s debut I Just Wanna Dance had me swinging my two feets on both ends of the fence (no shade Tiff, cause I like your music just as well!). Now we have the gorgeous Seohyun channelling her inner soul-sister realness with her first record (I hear you gurl, I hear them vocals reaching the high heavens).
Unlike the previous two artists, the singer’s debut has a little more retro feel with your quintessential K-pop style mixed in with R&B and subtle synths. For me, it’s something quite new, having had majority of the girls sound lingering within the depths of the Western world, which at times can be a 50/50 result. But Imma be real right now; when I first saw the artwork, and found out this was a Seohyun record, I was a bit like, “Gurl what? This is the album cover? Next…” Now, I’m no fan that drives pass an album solely based on the artwork, but it didn’t even look like artwork to me; it looked like some advertisement shoot for some jewellery company in South Korea or something like that (that’s no shade, but it was a bit iffy). But apart from that, my gurl was looking fine-as-hell with the sparkles and jewels… and the sparkles and the jewels. So, I decided to have a more decent look at the record, and damn… the only advice I would tell anyone is (wait for it)… don’t say no.
The album’s lead single is the title track, which is, without anything unnecessary to say, a throwback retro banger that spills fire and catchiness. I mean, this was something I kinda expected of Tiffany or Taeyeon to execute, but didn’t (Their leads though were still pretty solid hits!). So it’s nice to see Seohyun really pack a punch in this effortlessly chic and sophisticated number. Also, her voice in this track? F.I.R.E.! The pop star keeps the whole retro feel wholesome in the clucky love anthem “Hello” with Eric Nam, the sassy jazz elements of “Bad Love”, and even the closing number “Moonlight”, which boasts a stripped electronic–R&B sound, highlights her voice even more! But in other tracks, she conveys a perfect symmetry of classic sounds and contemporary K-pop spices such as the steamy hit “Magic” and the guitar-driven “Lonely Love”. The only track I felt was a letdown was “Love & Affection”, which contrasts awfully with its slack production with her wonderful vocal deliveries… god damn it SM Entertainment.
But here’s the thing; I noticed with this record, it’s not a standout to any other common release in good ol’ K-pop land. When I saw the visuals to the title track, as much as I loved the independence and style that the gorgeous Seohyun has evolved from, I can’t help thinking of it as a song by her, when clearly… and I mean clearly, the set-out and atmosphere looks like a Girls’ Generation number. The back-up dancers, the outfits, the quirky love-interest dialogue, it just didn’t glue to me. But apart from that, one thing I absolutely adored was her contribution to the behind-the-scenes motives… A.k.a., she wrote six of the seven songs here. It’s pretty rare these days to see that sort attribution towards their work, especially in K-Pop (no shade to y’all WHO DO) so Seohyun only gets more brownie points for her work (Good job gurl!)
Overall, Don’t Say No is a wonderful debut. Like I mentioned, it’s nothing OVERLY innovative (or the fact the artwork is semi-ok), but it solidifies the expectations I had for the K-Pop beauty. The sound is sparkly and cool, her style has revolved amazingly well, and she has really pushed herself well since her work with Girls Generation. With her releasing her debut, damn, the gurl will probably be pushing out more dope records for the near future. But until then, twirl around and sing to this stunning entrance by Seohyun. Yussssssss!
Track list (Bold means best tracks):
- Don’t Say No ~Liam’s favorite~
- Hello (feat. Eric Nam)
- Lonely Love
- Love & Affection
- Bad Love