SEOHYUN – DON'T SAY NO – THE 1ST MINI ALBUMTrack List:
1. Don't Say No *Title
2. Hello (Feat. Eric Nam)
4. Lonely Love
5. Love & Affection
6. Bad Love
Girls' Generation's maknae Seohyun has just dropped her new solo album. For the last decade she's held an innocent image, and she sheds that skin for a new, sexy, mature concept with her new mini-album 'Don't Say No.' The new EP contains 7 fresh tracks, and she had a hand in all but one of them.
The title track "Don't Say No" is almost a low-key dance tune, except for the chorus. The chorus is where she unchains those rather amazing pipes of hers. The heights her voice reaches recalls Mariah Carey at the height of her career. This is the track with the most production thrown at it, with some nice time changes, and it never slows down. It's the only track she didn't write, but it's still an exciting way to kick off the disc.
She slows down for "Hello." It's a duet with Eric Nam, and here he brings his high tenor to this sweet track. It's got an R&B vibe to, a bit of blue-eyed soul to be sure, but it still resonates. She eschews the flourishes of the title track, but it just serves to show more of her range, and her voice goes high and she practically coos during some of it. It's got a slow and easy groove and is a nice way to come down from the electric title track.
"Magic" is where she really shows both contrasts, where she squeezes that lower range purr and the high coos and puts them all together. There's some excellent vibrato in here along with all of that. The hook is in the beginning and repeats throughout the song. There's a fair of amount of sensuality to this track, and the purrs and whispers work well to this effect. It's a beautiful ride from beginning to end, with nice range shifts in the vocals. It's nothing short of magic.
"Love & Affection" is kind of where it wears thin. Probably the only track on here that doesn't work, it's well put together until the chorus. It's could have been a great showcase for her voice, but there's something essential missing here so that it grates rather than ingratiates. It's not really anything that grows on you either, annoying me further with repeated listens.
She redeems herself with "Bad Love," and really, the last two tracks. It's kind of a blues-jazz fusion, and it's got some great piano and some unobtrusive horns that provide some nice ambiance. Her voice wraps around the instrumentation like a warm sweater and holds on tight to the song. Definitely one of the highlights of the EP.
The sounds I described? Yeah, the whole album is like that. It relies on R&B for the bulk of its sounds, but it does it quite well. What sets it apart is her voice, for the most part. It's in a lower register in some parts, and that gives the disc a sultry feel, something slightly naughty but still in the PG range. This just shows her range as a songwriter as well as a vocalist, and I can't wait to hear more from this maknae.
An MV characterized by culinary failures and bizarre wardrobe choices.
Despite the oddness, it still tells a story. Seohyun has invited a cute guy over for a dinner date. Even from the beginning, she pours nuts and bolts onto a plate, like she's expecting to mix them together. Meanwhile, they flash to dancing scenes, and a white-garbed Seohyun in the graveyard, who appears to be causing all this havoc, including the end result -- a dinner of chains, and rain falls in the middle of the table. At the end, a white-garbed Seohyun is having dinner with the guy...with a fatal result.
She actually pretty well kills the dancing here. There's more going on that at first glance, though they don't show it that much. There are leg lifts, and expansive arm and body movements, and she doesn't remain static. It looks like there's a fair bit of challenge, too. Which is a good thing, they could have just had her move her hips, but it shows they put a little work into the choreo.
The wardrobe is fairly normal, but some of the garb is odd when viewed up close. The dancing sequences don't have anything approaching normal apparel, and I don't get the point of the wire cages the girls are wearing. Not to mention that loudly colored robe she wears at the start. If I longed for a return to the crazy costumes of 2007-8, this MV cured me.
Ultimately, though, the imagery grabbed me, possibly because of how strange it is. Do I know exactly what's going on? Nope. But the sets do not look cheap (in fact, the repast on the table looks fairly awesome and opulent) and this MV is never boring. I have to give this one a thumbs up.