Generic, chorus-less EDM pop like Hyoyeon’s Sober is becoming the most difficult material for me to review. First of all, there are thousands of these songs out there. What else is there to say that I haven’t said over and over already? But more than that, it’s getting harder to feign interest in a song structure that has become so overused and faceless. I want to focus on the good parts, but I can’t get past the sameness of it all.
It’s hard to imagine any artist sitting down to write a song (or being presented with one), and then listening to it and saying: “This sounds like every EDM track I’ve ever heard. Perfect! Just what I wanted!” I get that this style fits with Hyoyeon’s (Hyo’s?) new DJ shtick, but I refuse to believe there’s so little creative juice left to be squeezed from this trend that we’ve simply arrived at a cut-and-paste era. I mean, you can create club music with actual choruses and unique configurations — ones that take chances. Artists have been doing it for decades.
But I promised I’d try to focus on the good parts, right? With Sober, Hyoyeon sounds stronger than she has on any of her solos so far. And before the song crashes into that heard-it-all-before instrumental drop, the verses have a pleasant, atmospheric drive. I particularly enjoy the tropical-tinged pre-chorus, which has really become the most important piece of the modern EDM archetype. Moment for moment, Sober is a pretty solid example of its genre — but it still sounds more like background music they’d play at an H&M than the kind of k-pop I first fell in love with.