K-pop Star‘s Shannon Williams made waves earlier this year for expressing confusion over her agency’s lack of communication when it came to promotional opportunities. And in some ways, MBK Entertainment botched the release of her new mini album as well, offering very little promo and quietly debuting Hello‘s music video after the song had already been released and performed on music shows. MBK has a history of disorganization, which seems to affect its rookie artists more than anyone else. Girl group DIA has had a messy time of it, constantly adding new members to the detriment of the group’s stability. Shannon has also seen a lack of focus when it comes to genre and image. MBK can’t seem to decide what they want to do with her.
The problem isn’t talent, which both K-pop Star and Hello can attest to. It’s not a lack of solid songs either. Though Shannon has yet to enjoy a sizeable hit, all of her material has been catchy and polished, if a bit on the generic side. Hello even drafts trendy songwriter Ryan Jhun as part of a cadre of producers that worked on the track. Seasoned collaborators like him assure that the song carries a streamlined pop sound.
Perched halfway between dance track and ballad, Hello casts Shannon’s gymnastic vocals over a light r&b beat. It’s great to hear her tackle something more uptempo again, but the song lacks the individuality to truly stand out. Its glossy chorus recalls the late 00’s radio pop of western artists like Jordin Sparks or Leona Lewis. In other words, it’s the kind of melody that feels completely unthreatening — even as it offers a decent spotlight for its artist’s skills. But that’s not what Shannon needs to break out as a solo performer. In an ironic twist, Hello‘s squeaky-clean arrangement could actually do with a bit of MBK’s trademark messiness.