Hyoyeon’s latest release under her HYO stage name has been classified as “jungle pop.” Jungle is a hybrid sub-genre that first emerged from the heavily-percussive breakbeat hardcore, incorporating elements of reggae, dancehall, funk and several other sounds into a dense, noisy brew that favors repeated electronic loops. That all sounds more interesting than Dessert turns out to be. Amidst its stuffed instrumental, the track enlists (G)I-DLE’s Soyeon and rapper Loopy for even more competing elements.
I appreciate Hyoyeon’s willingness to explore various sub-genres of electronic music. She seems to have an authentic interest in the production of her solo material. With that said, I wish she would have further developed the psy-trance of last year’s unexpectedly excellent Badster. Dessert has its moments, but is let down by a repetitive hook that consists of little more than the performers repeating the song’s title in the most badass cadence they can muster. It’s a lame English-language refrain, and undermines Dessert’s cooler segments.
I have no great love for Soyeon’s performance style, but her melodic hip-hop verses are the best thing about Dessert. While her bratty tone grated on (G)I-DLE’s Oh My God (probably my least favorite K-pop song of the year), it’s a dynamite match for jungle pop. The song’s first twenty seconds hold great promise, and actually sound like the base for a great (G)I-DLE track. In comparison, Hyoyeon’s more restrained vocal feels like an afterthought in her own song, though she has the most pleasant tone of everyone on Dessert. I won’t even bother going into how irritating I find the processing on Loopy’s droning rap. You all know how I feel about these kind of effects.
When it comes down to it, the whole thing’s kind of a messy mishmash. I’d gladly indulge in about a third of Dessert’s ingredients. The rest give me a stomachache.
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