Everyone's favorite chick-band-turned-burlesque-troupe, AOA drops their first Korean LP in their eventful four-and-a-half-year history, produced by the man who saved them with their classic "Miniskirt," Brave Brothers. Taking a cue from the Beatles of KPop, Bigbang, the Angels dropped a duo of lead tracks from the album, Angel's Knock.
For the first time since she was discovered by an S.M. scout on the Seoul subway in 2003, Seo Joo-hyun, known better as SNSD's maknae Seohyun, goes solo, with her EP Don't Say No and its title track. Certainly a proud moment for the legions of Sones who adore her, but a well-deserved step into the limelight for the one who seems to have artistically matured and refined her talents over time more than anyone else in the iconic girl group.
Not only the third member of SNSD to get the solo green light but the third of their subunit, Girls' Generation TTS (or just TTS), the cherubic performer follows the already profic Taeyeon and the underrated but controversial Tiffany Hwang. Not only did the multi-talented Seoulite hold her own in the trio with the best two singers in Soshi, she's also taken over the mantle of main vocalist number three in the full group, a role once filled by of Jessica Jung.
While S.M. Town seems committed to cranking out as much stylistically diverse solo material as they can from SNSD's "baby leader" Taeyon, and with Tiffany's status up in the air after her ill-timed social media faux pas this past summer, Seohyun's first solo step is safe and predictible: a mainstream dance-pop number that highlights her ever-improving vocal skill and maturing charisma. "Don't Say No" is the only song from the E.P. that Seohyun did not have a part in writing, another safe step for S.M., relying on their longtime hitmaker Kenzie, along with KPop composer Matthew Tischler and former American Idol contestant Felicia Barton. Once the ultimate maknae (youngest member of a vocal group) with her wide-eyed adorably youthful image and charm, Seohyun is now presented (by her insistance apparently) as a much more mature, sexual entity with a smooth, midtempo R&B track and sultry, stylized music video.
To her credit, the best thing about the song, is her. While there is really nothing noteworthy or even particularly interesting about the composition or arrangement (unlike, for example the TTS hit "Twinkle" with its ridiculously catchy and edgy melodic riffs), her voice, in smooth harmonized background dubs and belting lead vocals, is the highlight of the piece and worth a listen. The production of the piece, at least in the official music video on YouTube, even sounds a little bit hollow, lacking a full, thick pounding rhythm track. We've always felt she, like the American Tiffany, is a very underrated vocalist with an enormous amount of charisma who has improved over the years, shining brighter in the SNSD galaxy with each of their concert tours, albums and singles. It will be interesting to see how this charts and what she follows it up with.