A number of fans were heartbroken (but probably not shocked) when Minzy left 2NE1 and YG Entertainment once her contract expired. Out of all the members of 2NE1, she was the only one who didnt get a solo. Blackjacks couldnt figure out why that was. She didnt appear to lack in singing or dancing, so why didnt her former agency give her the same shot her other members had? It was possibly the most frustrating mystery that fans couldnt solve.
As sad as it was to see one of K-pops most popular girl groups fizzle out, fans were still excited by news that Minzy would finally release a solo album. This was the silver lining Blackjacks needed. Even non-fans seemed intrigued by the news. What kind of music could we expect? Ballads? Pop? RB?
Almost surprisingly, we got all of those genres in her debut album Minzy Work 01. Uno or just, Uno. This move is usually risky for singers because theres no telling how fans will receive it. They could love the boldness of the initiative, or they could hate the inconsistency of the concept. Usually, I dislike this approach for the latter reason, but it actually works for a debut.
Uno comes off like a sampler showcase of what Minzy can do. She can get the party going with the island vibes in ING and Ninano, the title song. Now, ING did sound a little like a continuation of 2NE1s Falling in Love. It also didnt help that the lyrics centered on the similar theme of handling a crush.
On the other hand, Ninano was something of a dance battle war cry. The lyrics reaffirm this sound as Minzy challenges potential opponents to show off their dance skills at the club. My favorite part about this song was the intense rhythm of the violins. It reminded me of a classical pop fusion group named Bond. Flowsiks rap gelled nicely with the beat, and it was cool of him to record both a Korean and English rap. Neither version prevailed over the other, which I liked for the simple reason that one shouldnt sense a different vibe just because the language changed.
Id love nothing more than to see a live performance of Flashlight featuring Jay Park. Their vocals matched quite well, making for a sensual tune about love at first sight. Minzy sounds really great singing in a mid-range, employing her lower tone when it suited the melody. Its very relaxed and gives off the impression of light flirting in a club.
Unfortunately, Superwoman disappointed me for its basic melody and the weak attempt at a girl power anthem. Im all for songs that promote loving oneself, but this came off like a song for arm deodorant, not lyrically speaking. It felt uninspired, even if you related the context to Minzys struggles after leaving 2NE1. Im sure she felt insecure about going solo, and this song touches on that sentiment. Compared to the rest of the album, though, it was the weakest song. It just doesnt stand out well.
Beautiful Lie is my favorite song because theres something pained in Minzys voice, yet its quite lovely to hear. I dont know how much of a personal connection she has to the lyrics, but it meant something deep for her to sing it the way she did. It wasnt perfect or pretty, speaking to the lyrics of the song itself. Its one of those cry-yourself-to-sleep-post-breakup tunes.
Uno is a good start for Minzy. It shows a bit of her range and versatility, and its not too heavy-handed in the production. Since its her first solo album, I think it was a decent introduction of things to come. I definitely want her to gain the confidence to go harder in the next one. Im not talking about an album of only dance tracks; I want her to delve deeper into personal subjects. Shes on her own now, so Id like it if she shared more of herself in her work, be it through composition or production. Minzy spent years unable to express her voice fully. She deserves this overdue moment in the spotlight where she truly belongs.
(YouTube , Images via Music Works)
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