For the second pre-release before Sistar member Hyolyn’s debut solo album, she’s teamed up with Jay Park. Despite the high wattage of star power on display, One Step still feels like an album track rather than a proper single. But unlike last week’s offering, the song’s sound is much better suited to Hyolyn’s inimitable performance style.
Though it had been reported that each track Hyolyn released would have its own distinct style, I’m starting to get the sense that they’re all going to be tied together with a mid-90’s r&b motif. One Step replicates this sound beautifully. Its hushed snap of a beat is in lockstep uniformity throughout, but a constant wash of gentle synths keeps things interesting. It’s an example of understated production at its most effective.
More importantly, Hyolyn’s impeccable vocals sweeten the melody with an undeniable warmth. She has one of k-pop’s most recognizable tones — a voice that blends power with an irresistible breathiness. She thrives on Sistar’s uptempo dance tracks, but this style of r&b feels like an even better fit. Jay Park is pulled in as her duet partner, and does an admirable job with what little he’s given. But I think One Step would have been just as successful if Hyolyn had performed the entire thing as a solo. The two miss an opportunity to truly interact, making Park’s section feel more tacked on than it should have been. But even with this quibble, One Step is a huge leap forward from last week’s release. Here’s hoping the final single will prove to be an even greater success.