Female rapper Miryo isn’t the first Brown Eyed Girls member to tumble out of the nest as a soloist. Before her came wig-hoarder Narsha, who found peace in a very quirky flavor of pop, while maknae Gaintook a more romantic approach in her music. This week, Brown Eyed Girls Miryo dropped her first solo mini album, “MIRYO a.k.a JOHONEY“, and is already on a roll promoting it across the K-pop scene.
Many fans had been begging for a Miryo solo, some of us still wait for Jea to belt one out herself, and while it took Miryo forever to answer, she’s finally made it happen. In addition to going solo, Miryo is also launching the name “JOHONEY” into effect as her very own stage name. Since Miryo is the sole rapper in Brown Eyed Girls, she kind of has the unwarranted pressure to come up with something that justifies her street cred while still encompassing the uniqueness of the BEG brand. In “MIRYO a.k.a JOHONEY”, we definitely feel Miryo toying with the idea of finding an independent style that melds her rap with her quirks into what will hopefully be perceived as a unified entity. But did she actually pull it off?
I would be lying if I said she did.
“Miryo a.k.a Johoney” is surprisingly way more “pop” than I had anticipated it to be. I had always envisioned Miryo to be the only member to really deviate the farthest from pop music, and even go as far as to embrace a strong hip-hop vibe to bring out all that badassery out in the open. But that’s not really the case here, and in a way, I kind of see it as a major hiccup on her part.
“Miryo a.k.a Johoney” is extremely influenced by electronic/club music, and while I have no problem with Miryo going down this road, I think her solo mentality, when paired with the underlying messages she penned in the songs, don’t quite mesh properly for me. I mean, get a load of this
“I enjoy music that you can dance to, and the genre that makes me want to dance the most these days is electronic music, so there’s a lot of that in there,” she explained. “I like rock a lot too, but Katy Perry-style rock. Songs that are easy to sing along with. Since we do a lot of powerful styles of music with Brown Eyed Girls, I wanted to try something a little more light and easy.” – Miryo, OSEN
Katy Perry-style of rock? Like, I can’t even wrap my head around that, let alone come to grips with the fact that Miryo of all people looked to the most cookie cutter places for inspiration.
I know I’m trying to force Miryo into this “rapper from the streets” mold when she’s clearly not even close to being that, but I feel like I’m missing something vital as I listen to this EP. It’s an EP that is clearly hip, edgy, clever, trendy, catchy, fun, impressively produced, and unique, yet I don’t feel remotely attached to it, let alone in love. The execution is noteworthy, but as I said on Twitter, “I think [Miryo] got lost trying to maintain a bridge between her “rapper” persona and pop music. [It] feels artificial.“
There are moments in Miryo’s EP where I’m enjoying myself – surprisingly, “사랑해 사랑해 (featuring Sunny of SNSD)” being one of them – but that’s because they’re the moments where Miryo isn’t over thinking anything. In “사랑해 사랑해”, Miryo’s not just embedding her talent, but a bit of her heart as well. and I think if she had been a little more sincere in her approach with the EP on the whole, she could have definitely made the whole pseudo-rock meets electronica thing work properly. Most importantly, Miryo could have delivered something that didn’t feel like a digital carcass of herself. Everything sounds cool, but everything also sounds generic, and aside from a great production, I’m not really batting an eyelash to this one. If this is what “JOHONEY” stands for as an artist, then I’d like Miryo back, please.