written by: lolpenny
I do not know who NS Yoon G is but it’s probably okay because I’m guessing she hears that a lot.
What I do know is this: it is not easy to be a solo female singer no matter who you are. It seems like with every subsequent release the beats are more synthesized, the hemlines are shorter, and the criticism is more scathing. And in Korea’s post idol economy all that has a bitter undercurrent of ‘why isn’t she in Girls’ Generation?’
However, because she is a resilient, possibly supernatural creature, NS Yoon G is back again. With no time or subtlety to waste, her new mini album creatively titled ‘Skinship‘ (because now we’re going to touch each other).
It’s summer so of course the album starts off with a bouncy, quirky anthem about the weather. Or about how physically attractive she is, we may never know. The song is cute and breezy and everything you would expect to open a summer themed album.
And everything bops along quite nicely until the second half of the song takes a turn for the weird, flying in on the wings of a marching band parade. And then NS Yoon G is repeatedly propositioned for sex in French. This would probably be a clever use of language except for the fact that it has, quite famously, already been done. It would have even been okay if it was articulated as a pop culture reference but the way it’s used is so removed from “Lady Marmalade,” the original, that it more pokes fun more than it pays homage.
But then “I Got You,” the promotional track comes along and it’s just the kind of high octane pop song that this season craves. “I Got You” operates on the dichotomy of the down-and-out, sultry verses put up against the it-gets-better chorus that demonstrates she’s deep and emotional but also knows how to have fun. And can also perform some serious body rolls.
Personally, I’m surprised more K-pop songs aren’t set up like this because it seems to solve the hot and cold image transformations these artists go through. And sure, sometimes the verses run a little bland next to the soaring chorus but the overbearing sunny disposition builds a bridge so I guess we can get over it.
Next it’s time to chill out with “Love,” the mandatory ballad of the album. Like every mid tempo, piano driven K-pop tune, it’s melodic enough to be enjoyable in the moment but not enough to be memorable after it’s four minutes are up. And it clearly demonstrates that NS Yoon G is not famous for her lovely singing voice. “Love” points to the holes in her technique like the fact that she lacks for any at all. Her voice weak at best and whiny when she tries.
The closing track, “Irritated” continues to show off her airy, shrill voice, this time at a higher tempo with a kick drum accompaniment. High notes are definitely not her friend and the cheery chants of the chorus become barks of incompetency.
But other than that “Irritated” is not a bad way to tie this album together, combining the twitchy synths of the first half and the soft piano of the second. In a way, it’s almost cathartic.
To make a name for yourself you’ve got to back yourself up with more than good hooks while you’re under the gun. Simply put, Skinship doesn’t have what it takes to distinguish this girl from her hoards of competition. The album is ten minutes of competent, glossy pop but it’s hard to claw your way up the charts when the most interesting thing about your music is the dance moves you put to it.
|I Am Hot||
| Points scale
0 – could do without
0.5 – mediocre/filler
0.75 – pretty good/grew on me
1 – liked immediately
|I Got You||
Points to stars conversion: [(2.25/4) x 5] + 0.25*
*there is a 0.25 bonus for every album. The logic is that, if every song were “pretty good”, it’s a 4-star album.