Though Girls’ Generation‘s last comeback was about a year and a half ago, they’ve remained in the public consciousness through solo releases. The last few months have seen multiple releases by Taeyeon, Tiffany, Yoona and Hyoyeon, but now it’s youngest member Seohyun’s turn.
Every solo SNSD track has been different, but they all seem to pull from western pop influences in one way or another. For its part, Don’t Say No is slavishly indebted to the big, late 90’s pop/r&b recently brought back into the mainstream through artists like Ariana Grande. From its melody to its production, the song is about as generic as can be, limiting its potency but not totally blunting its effect. As an example of this genre, Don’t Say No‘s glitzy, throwback bop is a solid tribute to a classic pop sound. Seohyun is known for her strong vocals, and she pulls off this type of diva performance with the appropriate level of aplomb. Thankfully, she doesn’t overdue it when it comes to needless vocal runs and posturing. Her powerful voice is enough to drive the song through a relatively straightforward performance.
While every element within Don’t Say No works well, the song is missing that extra oomph that would make it truly soar. We get a taste of what the instrumental could have brought during the beat-driven middle eight breakdown, which sparks with an energy the rest of the song lacks. But in the end, Don’t Say No plays it safe. It’s another solid entry from a Girls’ Generation member, but I don’t think it will enjoy the long-term appeal of Taeyeon or Tiffany’s material.