Girl group fans will likely know Natty as a contestant in both Sixteen (which went on to form Twice) and Idol School (which formed fromis_9). She has the unlucky distinction of being eliminated in episode eleven of both series, which has got to be maddening. But now, after five years in the public consciousness, she’s finally debuted as a solo artist with the single Nineteen.
Few performers can make it as a convincing solo artist in the K-pop idol world. Groups have so many personalities and charms within one package, ensuring that fans will rarely become bored. A solo artist has to grab attention all on their own and maintain it through the space of an entire song. In this regard, Natty has plenty of charisma in her arsenal. Nineteen positions her as a trendy dance singer while asserting her refreshing youth and energy. In this way, the track’s overall approach reminds of 2017’s Sixteen by fellow trainee-turned-soloist Kim Samuel.
Nineteen may not have Brave Brothers at its helm, but the producers here manage to harness a satisfying funk, highlighted by some well-placed bass guitar and touches of strings. The song has a welcome breeziness to it, whipping itself into an easy hook that layers Natty’s light tone in satisfying fashion. The pre-chorus breakdown is Nineteen’s main calling card, offering a rhythmic detour that pairs that aforementioned guitar with a catchy refrain perched halfway between melody and hip-hop. And although the track’s verses are definitely less energetic than its chorus, their structure is tight and memorable. This all adds up to create a song that was worth the long wait. Hopefully, it’ll be the start of a promising turnaround for this survival series veteran.
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