I never watched Mnet’s Good Girl (too busy recapping frustrating episodes of Road to Kingdom), but I know that some of the series’ songs have gotten a fair amount of hype. And, any venue that gives Hyolyn a chance to shine is okay with me. She has one of my favorite K-pop voices, and I’ve missed hearing her music. Her triple punch of Dally, See Sea and Bae remains a personal highlight of 2018, and I’m hoping for another summer song when she makes her comeback next week. For now, she’s teasing us with a music video for her English-language Good Girl track 9LIVES.
Maybe it’s the English performance, but this track feels very American pop to me. It’s the kind of song I’d listen to out of curiosity but stop mid-way through because it sounds like a million other things. It’s a testament to Hyolyn’s charisma that she can keep the entire thing mildly compelling, though its formulaic nature doesn’t have me reaching for the replay button.
The problem with songs like this is that they have no melodic personality. 9LIVES feels perfectly suited to an American Idol/X-Factor kind of competition series, acting as a vocal spotlight complete with confetti drop moment. There aren’t any quirks or melodic surprises for Hyolyn to sink her teeth into. Instead, we’ve got the swelling, fist-clenching chorus, draped with resounding percussion and synth bombast. It’s the very definition of pop-song-by-the-numbers, which can be kind of fun if you keep your expectations in check. But, there are much more exciting moments to be found in Hyolyn’s discography.
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