It seems like I’ve been writing about farewell songs much too frequently over the past several months. The Great 2017 Wave of Girl Group Disbandments is very real, and it’s not all that great. Sistar are the latest casualty, and a surprising, sudden loss for the dwindling handful of second generation idol groups that remain intact. It’s all the more bruising that this disbandment occurs on the eve of the summer season, which Sistar so handily conquered year after year with a string of incredible singles. With that torch passed on to others, Lonely sees them close their career with a more somber, mid-tempo affair.
The best thing about Lonely is that it doesn’t actually sound like a farewell song at all. Yes, it’s far more subdued and stripped back than their usual title tracks, but it’s also free of the overly saccharine, forced elements that mark many songs with this specific purpose. Produced by Black Eyed Pilseung, who also composed last year’s I Like That, Lonely could have easily served as an excellent pre-release to that inevitable summer bop that the group churned out so reliably.
The acoustic strum of the verses allows full spotlight on the girls’ gorgeous vocals, blending nicely into the climbing pre-chorus. For a moment, it sounds as if the track will take a hard 180 and transform into something closer to EDM, but instead the melody and production pull back to present an emotive, sing-along stomp that successfully melds pathos with pop smarts. The mix of acoustic and electronic is well-balanced, and while the hook itself isn’t anything new, it does an effective job of giving the group a send-off without resorting to treacly confetti-drop moments. By the time we reach Dasom’s downbeat English-language couplet that closes the track, her words couldn’t be more false. Sistar is not a group that’s likely to be forgotten anytime soon.