MINZY -- MINZY WORK 01. "UNO"
1. Ninano (Feat. Flowsik)
4. Flashlight (Feat. Jay Park)
5. Beautiful Lie
6. Ninano (English Rap Ver.) (Feat. Flowsik)
After leaving 2NE1 / YG and joining Music Works, Minzy's been hard at work on her solo album 'UNO.' Here she teams up with rapper Flowsik and singer/actor/producer Jay Park to bring you 6 tracks on her very first solo outing. To further showcase her talent, she wrote the lyrics to all of these herself (though Jay Park and Flowsik had a hand in the songs they feature on).
"Ninano" is the title track. And thankfully they chose something fairly upbeat. It almost has a reggae beat to it, which I like, but the lyrics are nothing to write home about, being rather standard and cliche. As I listened I couldn't help thinking I'd heard this one before. But that's just the lyrics -- the melody is pretty bomb though and Flowsik is always sick with his raps.
Now "Superwoman" is a much stronger track than the title track. It's got a heavy R&B influence, and is way more modern than retro, has a great chorus, and some nifty EDM effects besides to pad it out. The melody uses Minzy's vocals to great effect, as she has to put some guts behind some of it, and I much prefer that to the high-octave shrinking violets. 2NE1 has always had a tougher sound and this song channels that nicely.
"ING" starts out promising, with a repetitive synth riff. This is sort of a hip-hop/EDM fusion, blurring the lines even further between the two. She incorporates some of that staccato sound that I love so much and brings the beat home. She also has that fierce tone to her voice, like she's mad and not going to take it anymore, which goes right along with the song itself. There are some great hooks here which just kick it up a notch in my book.
"Flashlight" is the track I have a problem with. As much as I want to like Jay Park (he actually grew up near me in Seattle), I've personally never been a fan of his rapping. Here his voice is wispy and like at any moment a stray gust of wind could blow it away. Minzy is on top of her game here, though, and bangs out a decent slow R&B track, with some glorious backmasked instrumentation.
The last one is "Beautiful Lie," and it fooled me. I thought it was going to end up a traditional ballad, but the song pulls the ole' switcheroo and it becomes a soft pop tune with a pounding beat and slightly higher tempo. Her vocals on this really impress. Not only can she pitch her voice lower when needed, they become clear as a bell and higher on the chorus.
So, overall, it's slightly uneven. There are parts of it that I like and parts of it where I didn't. Still, it stands as a pretty good debut and shows what she can do as a singer and songwriter. The only thing I could ask for is Minzy's rapping. We heard little of that here, and I would love to hear her flow again. And I do like most of this EP. Not only is this album a solid one, but it makes me excited about the future of this talented young woman.
Minzy and her entourage arrive, not to rumble, but to slay. And Minzy does slay, as she dances in front of mirrors, in front of a store, in a box, on television, and in a mini-arena outdoors. All of these scenes are lit in glorious multi-hued neon.
The dancing in the MV is the real highlight. Despite the changes in setting, lighting, costumes, the choreo is absolutely on point. More than a few dance moves have the artists advancing toward the camera, an effect that puts you front and center and demands your attention. Minzy has always been known for her ability on the dance floor -- this MV never calls that into doubt.
The costumes are okay, but nothing earth-shattering. There's nothing there you probably wouldn't see on the streets or in the malls, so there's nothing to nitpick or highlight. The company seems to have the wardrobe nailed for both the dancers and Minzy herself.
I'm not that big a fan of blonde hairstyles on Koreans, but when they work they do so gloriously. Minzy's sandy blonde works incredibly well. She has never looked better, even in her old band, and the new look really suits her!
So in case you hadn't guessed, I like the video. Is the most amazing thing she could have done? No. But I like what they did here. The different locations give you a sense of movement, and the camera switches scenes lightning-fast, never letting your eyes settle on one item too long. But still, the lighting, the dancing, and Minzy's unique charm are just a few of the details that make me angle my thumbs to the sky for this MV.
MV Score: 8
Album Score: 8.7