It took me a second to warm up to HyunA‘s “Red” last year, but it clicked once I soaked in the sick music video and live performances. “Red” clearly wasn’t the pop anthem that “Bubble Pop!” was, but it was exciting to see the baddest female (now that CL has vacated the throne for the bright lights of America) asserting her brand with a manic hip-hop song with a chorus that consisted of repeating her own name over and over.
The problem is, you can only get away with something like that once.
HyunA’s new single, “It’s Because I’m The Best” (which bears the embarrassing English title “Roll Deep”), is the weak retread of “Red” that nobody needed or wanted.
“Roll Deep” is clearly a response to the success of both “Red” and 4minute’s “Crazy” (it shares the same producers as those two singles) as well as the popularity of Show Me The Money and Unpretty Rapstar‘s commercial hip-pop hits.
Seo Jaewoo and Big Sancho‘s production is solid albeit predicable electro rap with all the expected bells and whistles, but why even bother if they can’t do something close to the incredible “Crazy”? It’s one step forward, two steps back.
It’s not terrible (it’s actually quite catchy in a banal Billboard rap chart kind of way), it just sounds more like the b-side you perform as part of your double comeback stage–basically GUHARA’s “How About Me?,” except that HyunA’s missing her “Choco Chip Cookies.” (Yes, I am well aware that I’m one of the few people that appreciates the brilliance of “Choco Chip Cookies.”)
Lyrically, “Red” worked so well because it was so nonsensical and fun. “Roll Deep” is the opposite–it’s literal and boring. HyunA raps about her “swag.” HyunA raps about people wanting to touch her. HyunA raps about her haters, and how everybody is jealous of her, and how she’s so pretty and “dope.”
On top of that, the music video features TWERKING for Christ’s sake. Twerking felt old-hat when Wa$$up debuted two years ago, so at this point even saying the word out loud makes you look as corny as a Caucasian morning show host.
Even the neon-soaked sleaze and Miley-meets-Kylie-Jenner fashion of the music video can’t save “Roll Deep,” nor can the impeccably fierce live performances. If anything, it just adds to the frustration of this comeback because HyunA’s clearly one of the most charismatic and visually appealing pop stars in the world right now, so why is she twerking to mediocre hip-pop like a bad parody of herself? HyunA’s turned into a caricature of HyunA.
HyunA’s literally got everything that it takes to be the best. All she needs now is for Cube Entertainment to give her a good song. Preferably one that doesn’t involve “twerking,” “swag,” or “rolling deep.”