Since going solo, Hyolyn has proven herself adept at a variety of genres. Nostalgia will always lure me toward her upbeat, Sistar-esque summer pop, but her R&B-influenced work has also been great. Nothing quite beats 2018’s Dally in this regard, but new single Layin’ Low certainly puts up a fight.
When it comes to Hyolyn, vocals are always front and center. She remains one of the industry’s most beguiling performers, able to captivate with the slightest nuance. Layin’ Low knows how to harness this power, offering plenty of space to riff and tug on the main melody line. The song is ready to pounce right from the start, yet pulls back to offer maximum tension. The simple pre-chorus is a great example of this approach. It doesn’t build to cathartic levels, but compels with a droning quality that promises eventual release.
This payoff arrives during the chorus, which merges a simple hook with Hyolyn’s engaging performance. The synths echo her vocals, crafting a sound that’s at once sensual and a little threatening. Fellow soloist Jooyoung takes over verse two and offers contrasting energy with phrasing that feels more brusque and blunt. But, Layin’ Low remains Hyolyn’s show even when she’s not present. She wrings every opportunity from the track, elevating a straightforward arrangement. Layin’ Low doesn’t feel as iconic as some of her past work, but it’s satisfying to watch an artist thrive within their element. As much as the song’s vocals roar, the performance is driven by a quiet sort of confidence only earned though time and experience.