With so many girl group stars like HyunA, Eunjung, and Hyosung promoting as soloists these days, it’s easy to forget that Seo In Young was one of these girls less than ten years ago.
Now that she’s no longer a popular young idol capable of going up against the Sunmi’s and Hara’s of the K-pop world, the 30-year-old former Jewelry member has reinvented herself as a professional fashionista and beauty expert. She’s also matured her sound, abandoning the k-diva dance music she started with for sophisticated poptronica, mellow AC soul, and even a stunning power ballad.
I assumed Elly would continue with the same sound on future releases, but her new album, Re Birth, really lives up to its title.
Lead single “Lies” is a disgruntled piece of Tarantino-tinged pop with spaghetti Western guitar strums and multiple rap breaks from Troy’s Kanto. It could easily be a recent Brown Eyed Girls song, both group or solo. (And like “Kill Bill,” it’s a real grower–don’t write it off on the first spin.)
Elsewhere, Elly goes full retro-pop on “Don’t Take a Movie,” which is sassier, snappier, and sexier than the countless other girl groups (from SPICA to Melody Day) who have tried this sound over the past year or two.
Re Birth even features an extreme Jackson 5 homage in the bouncy “On & On.” What more could you ask for?
I have a lot of trouble choosing my No. 1 favourite post-2005 K-diva, but every time Seo In Young releases something I feel like it’s gotta be her. She had a couple of misfires after the still sickening (that’s gay for good) “Into The Rhythm,” but everything from “Anymore” onwards is life.
I do have one gripe with this comeback, though–where is the fashion?! Elly is the Queen of Style, I can’t accept a low budget MV and a stage outfit that consists of plain white shorts, a chiffon blouse, and a conservative pixie-bowl cut. I need more darling. We need more.