Hyolyn has cobbled together solo tracks from the past few years and called it a mini album, which is pretty disappointing for fans waiting for more than two new songs. And, the approach has an unintended effect: it only serves to remind me how much better her 2018 material was than the generic pop she’s peddled this year. As usual, the blame lies on behind-the-scenes talent. She’s moved from Korean luminaries like Black Eyed Pilseung and Duble Sidekick to generic Western producers who deliver polished, but utterly faceless, material.
That’s a good description for Say My Name, which is as about as forgettable as you can get. I never thought I’d use “forgettable” to describe Hyolyn. She’s one of K-pop’s most magnetic performers. But, she needs to find material worthy of her talent. Say My Name’s reheated reggae beat does little to inspire compelling melody. For Hyolyn’s part, she imbues the verses with a plenty of layered backing vocals, delivering that killer tone she’s become famous for. It’s a pity that the song’s tired trap beats don’t offer a similar level of effort.
However, Say My Name’s most glaringly lazy element is its chorus. It’s repetitive, uninteresting and goes nowhere. As boring as the track’s production is, it has potential to support a melody much groovier than this. Instead, the chorus feels way too rigid, without the kind of organic spontaneity that a genre like this should embrace. By the time the song is finished, the only quality I can recall is monotony. That may be fine in some circles, but Hyolyn has proven she can deliver much more.