The trend calling for subgroups has been especially prevalent these days, considering the recent success of projects such as After School‘s Orange Caramel, SNSD‘s Taetiseo, and Infinite‘s Infinite-H. Subgroups are a great way for less highlighted members to have their share in the spotlight, further demonstrating their hidden talents; and this time, the under-appreciated main vocalists of 4Minute, Gayoon and Jiyoon, are the ones being given the spotlight with the introduction of their subgroup 2Yoon.
Considering how the general consensus only associate 4Minute with its highly trending member Hyuna, the establishment of 2Yoon was a development long awaited for. Gayoon and Jiyoon boast surprisingly potent voices, carrying the majority of their group’s songs majestically; 2Yoon would have been a way for the duo to finally achieve the recognition the two deserved, making this a project I was actively anticipating.
My intrigue only heightened with the announcement of the duo’s country concept for their upcoming mini album Harvest Moon and lead single “24/7.” The rural, countryside image the duo were going for was a very potent and distinct theme, and the project was claiming to add country influences into K-pop: a bold and risky, yet undeniably attention-grabbing claim. While the potential missteps of the decision were blatantly obvious, if handled and executed right, the potential of the final product was also undeniable, being a clear gateway for a fun and sassy track.
Unfortunately, “24/7” and its accommodating music video, the ultimate products of those unconventional ideas, fell short of expectations. Starting off with the song itself, it’s a outlandish mix of traditional dance-pop with little touches of country influences thrown in. Many were skeptical in how the duo planned to integrate country sounds to the song considering the stark contrast between the more modern, electronic-based sound of traditional K-pop and the more earthy, instrumental sound of country music.
However, I thought the combination of the two elements worked fairly well. The banjo-heavy instrumental and the omnipresent cowbell sounds were present and prominent throughout the entirety of the song, establishing the overall country vibe; and yet, these influences did not overpower the track to the point of turning it to an uninspired country rip-off. Despite the influences, the song still managed to maintain trademarks of a more conventional K-pop song with generous use of its hook and its more traditional progression, making for an overall innovative and creative pop song, a stand-out in the state of K-pop at the moment.
Be that as it may, despite the commendable creative production of the song, there are moments that feel completely distracted and aimless in the track. In particular, Gayoon’s pseudo-raps in the verses were very off-putting, disrupting the otherwise laid-back progression of the song — and the high pitch of these “raps” did not do much justice for Gayoon’s voice either.
Also, the track was not able to fully showcase Gayoon and Jiyoon’s commendable vocal prowess, a shame considering that showing the members’ understated strengths was the whole point of the subgroup. While the two were able to stretch their vocals in the –admittedly oddly placed — bridge, it left too little of an impact to truly commend the duo’s execution, a sad fact considering the two are certainly capable of more challenging feats. Lastly, while not a complaint per se, the track sounded unnecessarily similar to Miley Cirus‘s “Hoedown Throwdown,” from the banjo-driven instrumental down to the “boom boom clap” bridge.
However, despite the track’s shortcomings, the positives should not be ignored. While dragged down by an awkward verse, the pre-chorus and chorus are catchy and pure fun, perfectly embodying the enjoyment the effort tried to convey. Moreover, while some more vocal stretching would have been appreciated, Gayoon and Jiyoon still executed the song skillfully. Jiyoon’s huskier vocal complexion in particular matched the song quite well, and the two complement each other’s vocals compatibly.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQwhjXE27XI&w=640&h=360]
As for the music video: much like the song it accompanies, it has its fun and enjoyable moments, yet finds itself oft-distracted from its main theme. The video commences with the duo’s entrance to a so-called “Dream Village,” likely as new residents considering their more excessive choice in clothing. The two then change to more fitting and casual rodeo-attire, and antics in the (shabbily-decorated) town soon ensue. The content following that point was pretty standard, consisting of choreography and performance shots tinged with little bit of the duo playing in the so-called “Dream Village.”
In this aspect, the video doesn’t fully utilize the very potent countryside theme they attempt to establish, for much more interesting scenes could have taken place of the duo’s journey into the rural town. Instead, the video manages to stay amusing and lively through the quirky appearances of guests, from the outlandish arrival of the BTOB boys to Jung Hyung-don‘s hilarious additions. Nevertheless, Gayoon and Jiyoon are able to keep the mood up for the entirety of the video with their energetic interaction, though Jiyoon is considerably more chipper than Gayoon, who seemed a little uncomfortable with the looser, more casual concept the two were sporting. Helping spread the energy was the choreography, which was simple and effective in allowing the whole crowd to energetically follow along, reminiscent of the Wonder Girls‘ flashmob in “Like This.”
Likewise, the general aesthetic of the video was handled well, with the whole video retaining a warm, autumn-like tinge to it that matched with the countryside theme. The “Dream Village” the whole video takes place in was a pretty intricate and convincing set, though there were moments that appeared slightly claustrophobic when the relatively small set was cramped with onlookers or fellow dancers.
Collectively an acceptable effort, the idea and concept behind 2Yoon’s “24/7” was full of potential. However, the track and its accompanying music video failed to make full use of its concept and consequently failed in trying to make an overall impact. And this is a shame considering all the potential Gayoon and Jiyoon have, potential better demonstrated through the other tracks in their mini. But when rating “24/7” individually, I give it a 3.3/5. While it could have been something much bigger, it was still a very fun and enjoyable effort overall, compounded with some lively execution from 2Yoon.
Readers, what are your thoughts on 2Yoon’ “24/7”? Feel free to comment below!
(Cube, ExclusiceMusicPage, 4Minuteofficial)