The K-pop girl group leader lets her fluttery vocals take center stage for two safe, but satisfactory singles.
After Hyorin landed K-Pop Hot 100 No. 1s with her girl group SISTAR, sub-unit project SISTAR19 and a special solo single, the K-diva is finally making her proper solo debut, promoting two singles: "Lonely" and "One Way Love." If the objective was to launch the 22-year-old as a solo star with a unique palette of vocals colors and tones, well, mission accomplished.
The first taste of the Incheon native's debut comes via the acoustic-leaning pop/R&B number "Lonely." The production, while dreamy, is nothing particularly special or original for K-pop, but the vocal lines highlight Hyorin's fluttery, hushed approach.
The "Lonely" video shows Hyorin strutting around London, spotlighting a fun attitude as she throws off her coat on the street, makes kissy faces as the camera and plays the piano. While SISTAR has adopted the sexy, femme fatale look lately (i.e. "Alone," "Give It to Me"), it's nice to see a member really let loose; a little like the girls did in their "Loving U" video.
Hyorin's second single is the up-tempo "One Way Love" that, once again, does not push any boundaries in terms of production (though, the Latin-inspired Brave Brothers composition is sexy), but highlights the singer. Hyorin's raspy, breathy vocals sail over the verses, pre-choruses and hooks, eventually showing off her Mariah Carey-esque belts on the chorus. Hyorin brings a sweet surprise on the bridge, handling the rap section all her own -- further proving herself as a force to be reckoned with in the K-pop market.
At times, Hyorin is referred to as the Beyonce of South Korea -- undoubtedly stemming out her beginning in a girl group -- but the video for "One Way Love" feels more like her best Jennifer Lopez impression. Showcasing impressive dance skills and a series of fashionable, yet edgy looks (her outfit on the rap bridge looks like it pulled inspiration from J.Lo's 2013 Billboard Music Awards look) Hyorin looks more confident and fierce than ever, highlighting her curves a la Jenny from the block.
With "Lonely" and "One Way Love" as safe pop tracks sure to satisfy the public, Hyorin is setting herself up for future success -- and hopefully further risk-taking -- as the public further settles into hearing her particular raspy vocals handle entire tracks.