Sunmi 24 Hours
There’s been a storm of hype and controversy surrounding the solo debut of former Wonder Girls star, Sunmi, and rightly so. Wonder Girls are arguably the most iconic and influential Korean girl group of the past ten years, and they were at the absolute peak of their popularity when Sunmi split more than three years ago. The Korean public has never quite forgiven the now 21-year-old for choosing to leave the spotlight so abruptly, so when JYP Entertainment announced earlier this month that Sunmi was coming back as a solo artist with a sexy new image, the reaction from netizens was largely negative. But fuck ’em all, right?

Sunmi’s single, “24 Hours,” is a carnal dance-pop tune detailing the all-consuming passion that a young woman feels after falling in love for the first time. It’s rife with erotic metaphors (“I drink your love and I still feel thirsty,” is one of the more outrageous lines), and from a lyrical standpoint, it paints a rather vivid picture of someone being so engrossed in a lover that even spending every waking moment with them still isn’t enough to satisfy. Sunmi’s not much of a vocalist, but like Britney Spears or Janet Jackson, she’s got a sexy voice and she knows how to use it (which certainly comes in handy when singing about this kind of thing).

On its own, “24 Hours” falls short of being a really great pop song (Wonder Girls, 2PM, and miss A have all served up much better in the past 18 months), but when the subject matter, concept, and music video are all factored in, it’s a total knockout.

In the video, Sunmi –now sporting a short pink bob and barely any clothes– sits in her bedroom and fantasizes about all the different ways she wants to have sex with her boyfriend. It’s a bold transformation that recalls Park Ji Yoon’s career-defining “Coming of Age Ceremony,” but that’s not where the K-diva homages stop: The raunchy, complicated choreography is pure Ivy, while the song’s tango breakdown echoes early Baek Ji Young. You get the sense that Sunmi’s keen to shake off the girl group tag and follow in the footsteps of the women who came before her, and it works.

And if you weren’t convinced by the music video that Sunmi has what it takes to go solo, just check out her M! Countdown performance. She oozes an icy confidence on stage, and her dance moves are impeccable. Okay, so she might not be Ga-in or Ivy level, but considering that she hasn’t performed live for almost four years (and not once as a soloist) she utterly killed it. (Also, note to Western pop stars: When you can’t really sing that well, please practice and become good at dancing like Sunmi did).

With artists like G.NA, Ailee, and HyunA, the new generation of K-divas is really starting to take shape and catch up to the quality of the last generation, which consisted of ladies like Seo In Young, Son Dam Bi, and Ivy. It’s exciting to see Sunmi return in such a major and unexpected way, and even with just one song behind her so far, it’s one that’s good enough to win her a place among the new breed of top female soloists.

  • Nicole Naeun

    2 Kings 6:17 – And Nicole prayed, “Open his eyes, LORDmi, so that he may see.” Then the LORDmi opened the servant Jacques’ eyes.

    I still can’t believe you didn’t love this on first listen and you called this “cheap” “K-dive filler song”. I’m glad you’ve seen the light now.

    • heauxbag

      LMAO

  • KingBeaArthur

    Spot on write up!

    I love me some Mimi, and I love the in your face sexuality you don’t see much of from JYPE’s female roster too often these days [the men are kind of whored out tbh; I’m looking at you shirtless & ripped EVERY member of 2PM & 2AM]. BUT something feels slightly…incomplete. The song is catchy but not as fresh as it should be and the mv really is the main selling point here, along with the choreography – which she delivers expertly.

    Whatever qualms one could have were squashed with her stunning live stage! Welcome back, Sunmi. Now can she take rightful place back in WG until Sunye returns (and then Lim decides to go study somewhere far, far away…)?

  • Lin Misfits

    As a Wonderful, I had a huge smile reading this article. I honestly forgot Wonder Girls were once VERY popular and the pinnacle for girl group success, and you reminded me thus.

    At the same time, Sunmi said she’s happy to return being in Wonder Girls. If Sunye decides to be on hiatus, would you be happy with Sunmi replacing Sunye?

    • I’d rather Sunmi as a soloist after seeing her do 24 hours. She seems to have grown out of the Woner Girls now. I’d only want her back in Wonder Girls if she replaced Lim, and Wonder Girls came back with a more mature image.

      • Lin Misfits

        Interesting.
        But why only return if she replaces Lim? Sure Lim is not impressive but you’re still going to have Sunmi in the group. JYP said he’s happy making Wonder 6 if Sunye decides to stay and Sunmi wants to return.

        I personally want Lim to stay because she’s kind of the main dancer in the group, and they desperately need one.

        • Allen Alexander

          I wouldn’t trust that. I don’t feel like JYPE knows where to go or what to do with the WG’s anymore so to have them kind of unofficially break up and then re-form as 6 but still do the same kind of music would just seem kind of pointless to me. Having Sunmi as a solo gives them a “new” slate almost. Plus I feel that since they haven’t really given Miss A their own dance image like we thought they would, having both female groups do “mature” concepts would mean they would probably end up sounding alike I feel like.

          • Lin Misfits

            Interesting opinion :)
            I’m not sure, I’m a JYP fan myself and he said his favourite is Wonder Girls and that he pays the most attention to the Wonder Girls, so I’m sure if he puts enough effort he can pull it off.

            Also, Wonder Girls have only done retro. They haven’t even performed a pop song yet, and they did an AMAZING job with their second album WONDER WORLD. So they definitely have potential and if they do make a comeback it won’t seem pointless.

            Furthermore, Sunmi hinted that they will because she said she’s happy to return to the Wonder Girls after her solo debut. She simply said everyone has to agree to making a comeback, to the Wonder Girl members, company and JYP himself.

            This is all just my opinion and I’m a Wonderful so I’m biased haha

        • Victorian_Lunatic

          Sohee’s the main dancer. Lim is “Maknae, Lead Rapper, and Vocalist”.

  • Quang Phạm

    I think people is really hating on her because they think she was not studying at all in the last 3 years.
    I find her face both innocent and sexy, in a tasteful way.

  • twinkle9

    flawless.

  • UncleFan

    Sunmi? More like SLAYmi. I hope we see a lot more of her, too, because she pisses off all the right people.

    BTW, I wonder if this was Sunmi’s master plan all along, to become a solo star because she hated being in a group?

  • byoing~byoing.

    So since Sunye got married we’ve had Yubin (kinda) and now Sunmi do something solo and Sohee is trying acting now… So, we have to pray to the divine K-Pop gawds that hopefully JYP gives Yenny a chance to do some solo stuff!
    ’cause oh my gawd, if she does anything like G.N.O. or Me, In (which she co-wrote) I don’t think my feels will be able to be contained.

    • KingBeaArthur

      Yenny is doing theater, but I’d love to see her solo!

  • heauxbag

    omg the debut stage…she fucking did that!!!!!!

  • Allen Alexander

    I find it a little bit funny that he only brings her out once WG’s themselves are kind of “done” but that’s fine because she absolutely rocked this. It’s like one of the better songs Miss A would have gotten but didn’t. I also like that the vocals are so understated and sexy on this song but I still know she can put forth a little more oomph as well which I’m sure we’ll see later on. Good job Sunmi!

  • Marhaebwa

    SUN. MI. BEH. TAH. GETTT. ITTTT!!!

    This is the best thing to come out of JYP right now, what with the drought that is Suzy and the KittyKats (cos you know that is a more relevant name than Miss A right now) and 15& and Baek Ah Yeon not meeting the expectations that USED to come comes with JYP. Yeah 2pm blah blah and 2am.

    But like you said, Sunmi is bringing further that wave that will be the dominance of soloists. For too long, it has been groups that have been watering down K-Pop but we’ve got the like of KWEEN AILEE, Roy Kim, Baek Ah Yeon, etc…doing it for the soloists.

    Just waiting for Hyorin to go solo, then it is ALLLLLL OVER!
    Even dreaming for Hyoyeon to go solo, then I WILL EVAPORATE IN THE HEAVENS!!

  • i absolutely loved the song and video! she looks gorgeous and i fully agree with you about the song.

    when i first saw the video i thought how it’s such a pity that when JYP finally gets his shit straight he’s no longer that relevant in terms of sales and attention.

  • MIKEE

    Everything about Sunmi’s solo debut is perfection.

  • windowbluues

    She needs to work on her presence or acting skill i guess. It’s a sexy song and she is as sexy as a bag of rice. I’m lusting over her main dancer tho….

  • Fawoo

    This was pretty lackluster, like a cheap Ga-In pretty much.

    Can’t wait for Hyorin to finally go solo, as well as Gahi’s comeback. They’ll both show how you’re REALLY supposed to perform.

    • Victorian_Lunatic

      Ailee blows Hyorin out of the water, and I don’t think Kahi will ever come back – she’s been saying for ages that she will, but there’s been no news. As for Ga-In… I cannot stand her “LOOK AT ME I AM SEXY PLEASE SAY I AM SEXY” style. Sunmi does a far better job (and this is coming from a Sone).

  • Sunny

    I was mad at JYP when she left the group. But glad to finally see her back. The track is just AMAZING and fierce. Love her!

  • Tony T

    That male dancer is everything to me right now.

  • James Smith III

    one thing though, anyone who has the first wonder girls’ album knows sunmi can def sing just listen to “i wanna” okay!!!

  • 364Leinad

    Sunmi must’ve been going through some sort of devil worship after she left the wonder girls to pull off such an absolutely flawless masterpiece of a song, video and overall concept because she sure as hell was NOT studying judging by her twitter updates

  • norimix

    Fabulous!^^

  • Victorian_Lunatic

    What the heck was that male back dancer looking at at 1:46?