SUNMI – 'LALALAY'
Sunmi has just released her latest in a line of awesome singles. Titled "Lalalay," it was apparently inspired by a trip to Mexico. During her trip, watching the people cut loose without worrying about what others think gave her the idea for the song.
This tune opens with a galloping beat and a fairly uptempo melody. Since her resurgence as a solo artist a couple years ago, Sunmi has been cranking out hits, and time has done some amazing things to her voice. One of the things I like is that she can morph the vocals to whatever sound she needs at the moment. This song is adequate testament to that, as she alternates from high and soft to sharp and poignant.
The problem with this song is that the chorus is a little weak. After being treated to cuts like "Gashina" and "Noir", we get an electropop-inspired piece with Latin pop elements and a low-key chorus. I would have liked to hear that amazing scenery-chewing voice tackle something more lyrically complex every 60 seconds or so. I was a little disappointed with how the song didn't develop anything more than a hand-wavy "lalalay". Don't get me wrong. The rest of the song is amazing, but choosing to end on that note weakens the impact.
And if you're disappointed too, believe me, I get it. I like her stuff, particularly since she reinvented herself and said that she'd like to be her own genre. I do like the fact that she incorporated the taepyeongso, a traditional Korean horn instrument. And she is truly a genre unto herself, too, with the vocal chops to prove it. I was just hoping this song would be a little better than it was. I know what she's capable of because I saw it with "Gashina."
The lovely Sunmi gets a makeover in the MV for "Lalalay".
Sort of. There's actually a lot of different things going on here. From changing wigs to dancing in a wig shop to clones of her to sitting in front of a giant butterfly. It all works quite well, even though the technique involved in some of this is pretty simple. Eventually, she brings her crew to a hair salon, and we find they've given her double pigtails, a new, wild-looking dress, and some neo-goth makeup.
She ends up looking sort of like a junkie version of Harley Quinn. And that's never a good look.
But that's only a minor quibble, as she tries on a lot of different looks, from the gorgeous mini-skirted blonde in the beginning, to the pigtails, to the weird makeup and even a flight attendant and a captain of the plane. Where's the plane going? Maybe the land of Awesome.
I like how this plays out, though, and I certainly like the message. That it's okay to be weird, to break out of the mold and just go crazy. It's a slightly odd message for conservative South Korea, but it's a good message for everyone to listen to. As much as the chorus didn't grab me much, every minute of the MV was solid.
MV SCORE: 8.3
ALBUM SCORE: 8.3