Having shed the image of a Wonder Girl, Sunmi is back on the scene with a new single and showing fans that she's ready to take a new kind of control over her career. By utilizing a mix of the qualities that made her a star under JYP's tutelage as well as some newfound quirkiness, Sunmi created what's sure to be a new standout in her discography and ushered in a new age for her artistic output.
"Gashina" starts off sounding like a familiar tropical house banger but subverts expectations by going the extra mile with its production and crossing into a more unconventional territory. The video matches the pace, with Sunmi going on some sort of journey of self-discovery by dancing (and convulsing, and making hand gestures) mostly in the absence of a supporting crew. This allows Sunmi to shine as a soloist and draws the focus squarely on what she's doing. Sunmi delivers the image and sound of someone "losing it" with a previously unseen confidence, never being swallowed up by the production or scenery in the process.
On this track, Sunmi's vocals sound as fresh as ever, with hints of anger even coming through at points and offering a stark contrast to her usual style of music. The change is welcome and proves that switching labels is a great time to experiment with new styles. Her breathy vocals come off as manic and help turn both the song and its video into a story of sorts.
With this track and video as our first taste of Sunmi's new direction, it's safe to say that we're about to get some of the best work of Sunmi's career. This song has the same energy that made a classic like "24 Hours" great, and it's a promising sign of what's to come. Although it will take some getting used to hearing Sunmi without those signature J.Y.P. melodies and vocal stylings, this brave new era of her career is already starting to look like her best yet. 2017's Sunmi wears high fashion, tip-toes the lines of taste and challenges some K-pop tropes with sophisticated ease. It won't be long before K-pop fans everywhere are dancing with just as much freedom and reckless abandon as her.
MV SCORE: 8.6
Single SCORE: 8.75