Despite her participation in the excellent second season of Sister’s Slam Dunk, 2017 never really gave us that reliably retro Hong Jin Young trot anthem. She did promote one song on music shows, but it came and went without nearly the impact of hits like Love Battery — or even 2016’s Thumb Up. So is new single Good Bye (잘가라) a memorable return to form, or simply a placeholder until we get back to the good stuff?
If you enjoy Jin Young’s heavily trot-influenced pop, you’ll find plenty to love here. Good Bye carries that same up-tempo, sing-along spirit that her music has become known for. It’s rooted in classic instrumentation and an exaggerated performance style that definitely sticks out among today’s trendier k-pop efforts. It even builds to a rousing climax, complete with the kind of vocal altering you’d expect to hear as part of an EDM track. But despite all of these familiar hallmarks (or maybe because of them), Good Bye doesn’t captivate in the same way her best material has.
The song’s vocal-bending chorus is a standout, ably displaying why Hong Jin Young has been crowned k-pop’s modern trot queen. She squeezes an insane amount of personality from even the smallest of moments, making Good Bye an energetic joy from start to finish. But in a way, it’s a fleeting joy. There’s very little that pulls me back for further listens. It feels like a song for a very specific time and place, as opposed to the kind of crossover hit she’s capable of delivering.