Mar 11, 2014

Sunmi Shines Brighter Than the Stars In "Full Moon"

Kpop's new pop princess Sunmi has dropped her first solo mini album and won her first solo trophy on Inkigayo with Full Moon, as both are titled.
Admitedly, I knew nothing about Sunmi prior to her solo debut as I was not around to see her involvation in the Wonder Girls, and she disappeared off the map completely when she left the group. 
However, with her solo releases it seems like JYP finally manages to promote at least one of his acts decently. I've grown to really like Sunmi, and this mini album only further establishes that.

I already praised the video for title track Full Moon, but the song itself is not all too spectacular. It's a very ordinary song in all honesty, having that familiar Brave Brothers signature sound that I'm getting so tired of hearing everywhere, but I can't help but to like it. Well, apart from that horrendous intro that really should have been left out, it's still interesting enough to stand out on its own. I really enjoy Sunmi's voice too, because it's suited well for this song and allows her to sing comfortably in her range.
But before we move on, the rapping by trainee Lena has to be discussed. I think that it's incorporated well enough in the track and her rapping is fine, but I would have much rather have another verse, because the song feels a bit short already as it is and that only makes it even shorter. Also, Lena's little performances in the live stages have been so boring, and I mostly tend to skip them.

The next song on the mini is her debut track 24 Hours, and that song is still amazing even a year later. It's very JYP in the sound of the song as well as the vocals, and I know it surprised a lot of people that were doubtful about her solo debut. She sounds great, the melody and catchphrase are infectious and the tango themed breakdown near the end fit perfectly. My only complaint, and it's very tiny so don't worry, is that it's a bit too repetitive which can lead to some annoyance for certain people. I don't think it's too much of a problem, but I can see why people don't like it for that reason.

For the following song, Burn, there's an attempt at a club banger. I want to emphasize the word attempt, because that's really all there is. There are some similarities to Miss A's Lips, a more successful example in this category, but it's not as impactful at all. I wanted this song to be just what it also wants to be, but the buildup is too strong in comparison to the drop, which consists of a few single notes and nothing else. It has a good melody and is still a decent effort, but it's just not strong enough.
Things really take a turn for the better in Who Am I (ft. Yubin). This song starts out with a sultry, low singing over a steady beat and sexy guitar strumming, but really explodes in the chorus. Sunmi's voice sounds clear and strong and keeps up really well with the higher pitch. This song is so infectious, and I love how dynamic it is. The verses are low and careful, and than the chorus comes along and the roof is raised! Wonder Girls' Yubin makes a surprise appearance with a small rapping part. She is great, as usual, but it doesn't add much overall to the song.

The weakest track in my opinion on this mini album is Frozen In Time (ft. GOT7's Jackson). Don't get wrong, it's a lovely mid-tempo ballad with some husky vocals from Sunmi herself, but I didn't find it very interesting. In contrast to "Who Am I", this song is not very dynamic. It's pretty much the same all throughout, making it a bit monotone. Jackson, who is a rapper in his own group, guests with some singing, and his low voice fits the mood unexpectedly well.

The album finishes with probably the most mature, self-aware track of the bunch- If That Was You. It's an honest, open love confession with arms and heart spread wide open. Another Wonder Girl is involved this time- this time it's Yeeun who's taken part in composing this wonderful, melodious album closer. The lyrics are heartfelt, the harmonies are great, the tempo and background music are just right and Sunmi sounds better than ever. If you haven't realized yet, this song is by far my favorite. I just love how beautiful it is without even trying, how it manages to convey the message without being overly dramatic and how it makes me all warm and happy inside.

This is one great first album from Sunmi, and it showcases her in a very positive way. She is not one of the greatest vocalists out there, but she works perfectly as a solo artist because she's given such great material. All the songs on "Full Moon" can stand on their own, and the album feels strong and coherent.
It's quite funny, because after the annunciation of her solo debut last year there were a lot of skeptics, but she has just gone out there and won everyone over, me included.
Who though JYP finally would rediscover success with Sunmi? Not me, but I'm happy they did.

Highlights: 24 Hours, Who Am I, If That Was You
Total Score: 4,2/5

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