G.NA crashed into the K-Pop scene with a cameo in 2PM’s testosterone fuelled Music Video for ‘10 Out of 10’, where she gained attention for all the wrong (right?) reasons. After much public scrutiny over her sexualized image and the controversy surrounding her ‘natural D-Cups’, G.NA finally debuted into the music scene in 2010 with her digital single ‘Want to Do When I Have a Lover’ ft Rain. This was followed by the release of her EP ‘Draw G’s First Breath’ and the first single from her EP ‘I’ll Back off So You Can Live Better’ ft. B2ST’s Junhyung. With these releases G.NA’s raw talent as a singer rendered any previous scrutiny over her body irrelevant. Why? Simple. This girl could sang.
It’s a year plus one mediocre full album later, and G.NA returns with her second mini album ‘Top Girl’. And with the exception of one obligatory ballad, I can easily describe this album in two words: ‘Bubblegum Pop’, very reminiscent of Mandy Moore actually. And I’m not going to lie; I kind of really dig it.
G.NA’s title tracks have never struck a chord with me, I was never one for ballads, and ‘Black and White’ was so unforgettable I didn’t even blink an eye.
Top Girl isn’t that amazing of a song, and it definitely isn’t title track worthy. However after a few listens I actually began liking it, but two songs into the mini album and I couldn’t believe they deemed it worthy to be a title track. Nonetheless, it’s a fun song to listen to. The chanting in the beginning is unnecessary and juvenile, but the second half of the chorus won me over, so the song gets a thumbs up from me. Your friends might judge you for replaying it too much- but who cares what they think, right?
Banana has a tinge of exoticness about it; it’s a fun up-tempo dance-pop track perfect for house parties. It’s catchy without being redundant, and the melody actually exists. The best part of this song however, is how clean it is. With the exception of ‘ICON’, all the pop songs on this album are very clean cut. They’re fun, and as pop as pop gets, all the while putting emphasis on G.NA’s amazing vocals. I’m not too nitpicky over auto tune and noisy pop, but the sheer amount of it being released as of late is overwhelming. Thank you G.NA for not succumbing to the temptation of the ever so seductive ‘trends’ of K-Pop.
Banana would have been a perfect title track over the preppy ‘Top Girl’, unfortunately it was deemed inappropriate by MBC, and hence G.NA is banned from publicly performing it. The reason for this ban supposedly lies in the lyrics of the song. More specifically the following lyrics:
Warning: The following text is rated R-18+, and is deemed NSFW. All children younger than SHINee’s Taemin should view with discretion. It is also advised the monitor is located a safe distance away from religious figures and overbearing parents. After reading the following text it is recommended you rinse your eyes with holy water and submit yourself to an exorcist in order to relieve yourself of the demons which have inevitably possessed your being.
I know, the innuendo offended me too.
This banning craze is getting ridiculous. Especially since I am under the belief that it doesn’t matter if one song makes a small reference to guns, violence, alcohol, or even- and god help us all- bananas, as long as a child is raised rightfully and is taught correct morals, then listening to G.NA singing about going bananas shouldn’t make a difference as to what they amount to in the future.
I Hate You is my absolute favorite song off this mini-album. It has a cheerful upbeat melody, and the one word I can use to describe this song is ‘pretty’. It’s very pretty, and I love things that are pretty. It’s one of those pop songs that catch you on the first listen, and then never gets old- it doesn’t fall victim to trends or what’s ‘in’ at the time. It’s just a genuinely good pop song. I’m especially glad MBC didn’t condemn the song for promoting animosity and hostility or whatever, because to see G.NA perform this live would be a dream.
And so we’ve reached the obligatory ballad. Without You is gorgeous, mostly because G.NA’s voice is gorgeous, the melody itself is okay. If you’re a ballad person you might like this, you might even adore this. But I am not a ballad person, and my music taste might actually be narrow, because I spent the entire song waiting for it to finish. But that’s just me you know, and I think anything slower than SNSD’s ‘Kissing You’ belongs on an OST. That was a joke (partly).
ICON is as close as G.NA gets to noisy pop, and to be honest, the song does draw a very fine line. I’m not really digging the verses too much, they’re a bit too choppy for my taste. The chorus has a nice beat, but it’s nothing completely memorable. I don’t dislike this song exactly, but it’s not how I wanted the mini album to end. It might be because the rest of the mini has spoiled me with genuinely catchy and clean pop songs, so this just misses the mark and seems almost mediocre.
Top Girl isn’t something revolutionary, and it won’t be the leader of the next generation of the Hallyu wave, but it is a genuinely fun mini-album. The only problem lies in the fact that it is, well, a mini-album. And it’s very difficult to determine the cohesiveness of a mini-album- especially when I’m only gifted 5 songs to give a whirl.
But I can safely say I enjoyed listening to most of it, and it did put a smile on my face. So give G.NA’s Top Girl some of your time, it might pleasantly surprise you.
Best Songs: I Hate You, Banana
Not Bad: Top Girl
Forgettable at Worst: ICON
Also, um, check out the album’s concept photos. They might also- erm, pleasantly surprise you. Ahem- yeah.