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 poptronicamellow 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.

  • Julian Jung

    Yas Queen Seo In Young is back! I didn’t need more than one play of this song to fall in love with it. The transitions from the softer, pensive verses to the guiltless raps and accusatory chorus are done so well, the song never loses its melodic flow. Kanto’s tone and delivery is so perfect for the role of the cheating boyfriend, and his raps are a definite highlight in the song. I will say that I’m surprised at how little screen time Seo In Young has. No kidding about the fashion! I really expected her to go all out and blow us away like she did with “Love Me” (which is such a jam and visual fashion orgasm!). I’m not really feeling the pixie cut, and I don’t think she’s ever looked as good as she did with her long blonde hair, but Elly still looks gorgeous in a more mature way. With all the comebacks this month, I hope Lies chars well, because it’s imho one of the best songs so far this year.

  • UncleFan

    Great song, but I vastly prefer the live performance over the official MV, which needs less blonde she-devil and more Seo In Young. BTW, I disagree about the blouse… it’s hot!

    • It’s a nice blouse but it’s not enough! I need more fashion from her. And I agree about the MV and live stage. She’s barely in the MV! How low was the budget for this comeback? Her songs chart quite well for a female pop soloist and she’s always working on beauty programs so you’d expect her budget to be bigger.

  • Db

    I only started following her after she released Anymore. I slept on it after listening to it when it released. I went back to it a few months later and it instantly clicked. I couldn’t believe I had missed out! She’s been STELLAR(!) ever since.

    Even her last release was fantastic. She definitely had the fashion going in that MV.

  • KingBeaArthur

    The mini is flawless! In love with her more than ever (didn’t think it was possible after the perfection that was “Thinking Of You”).

  • Quang Phạm

    That f(x)’s Red Light promo…