As unfortunate as the disbandment of Wonder Girls continues to be, it’s freed up the group’s members to deliver some truly fantastic solo work. Sunmi has been on a hot streak since last year, and Yubin is right on her heals. Her city pop single Lady earned many admirers back in June. I continue to enjoy the song, though I haven’t returned to it nearly as often as I would have expected. However, I’m pleased that she’s continuing the retro style with new single Thank U Soooo Much — and that she’s working with a solid composer in Albi Albertsson.
If Lady found its influences in the 80’s, Thank U reaches back even further in the pop music timeline. Its hazy, funk-kissed disco hearkens back to the 70’s, and proves to be an excellent playground for Yubin’s undeniable charisma. Its rhythmic instrumental is light on its feet, almost freeform in its energy. Swells of strings and looped whistles add to the supple groove, perfectly recreating a dancefloor-ready sound that feels at once tawdry and taut.
Yubin’s vocals are one of the track’s biggest selling points. When in Wonder Girls, she was often shoehorned into the role of rapper. I love how her solo work has allowed her to stretch herself. She’s not a belt-it-out singer, but a song like Thank U doesn’t require that. Her smooth, sassy performance retains the charm she possessed as a rapper, and when she transitions towards her upper register during the chorus, the song really takes off. Melodically, Thank U mostly circles around its central vocal riff. This repetition may limit its long-term appeal, but then again disco was usually more concerned with beat than melody. Pair this song with Brown Eyed Girls’ excellent Brave New World for a double hit of disco inferno.