We’ve had our holiday roundtable fun, so now it’s time to get back to the more serious industry questions! The beginning of 2015 has been filled with unexpected solo debuts. It was just a few years ago when we all were hoping that our favorites would get the opportunity to shine solo, and now we have several soloists — from half of 2PM, to all of the Brown Eyed Girls, to this month’s f(x)‘s Amber and Teen Top‘s Niel.
This week we asked our writers: who do you want to go solo next? Of existing idol soloists, who is your favorite and why? And if you want to go even deeper, how about the most unexpected? Or the one that shouldn’t have happened?
Gaya: I hope the rest of Shinee has solo debuts: if people are right about SM churning solos out because they don’t have a plan, then there is a high chance that this may actually happen. I want Key‘s first, giving Onew some extra recovery time should he need it (and let’s face it, he probably will), before we get into a game of “will they or won’t they” for Minho. But will they?
Morgan: Personally, I hope the members of TVXQ get to debut solo, which is probably never going to happen based on how tight knit they are. However, only last week I was wondering what it would be like to have TVXQ’s Changmin do a cover of Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries”. The answer is awesome! You hardly ever hear anyone challenge the rock genre in K-pop (I do realize it is pop-rock, but I am using the term loosely). He has done rock solos in the past at concerts, so he has proven he has the talent. But I guess this shall just be one of my unfulfilled dreams.
Cy: All the albums I’ve listened to so far in 2015 have been solo albums, and they’ve all surprised me in one way or another. However, Jonghyun‘s solo shocked the hell out of me. I wasn’t really too impressed with Taemin‘s solo. It had a song or two that I enjoyed, but otherwise it seemed like an album made up of solos on a Shinee album. Jonghyun’s solo was truly incredible, his ability to put so much of himself in each song and to write songs that had a maturity and sensuality to them that I just didn’t expect.
In terms of who I’d like to see release something, I would say I want Yoochun to go solo, but I don’t think we’d count him as an idol anymore, would we? I’d love Narsha to do more solo stuff. Her voice! It’s just prime for some truly soulful songs. I know that it’s early doors yet for them (and the group hasn’t actually debuted yet), but Bobby and B.I both need solo albums. Give us some of that flow and nastiness on Bobby’s part and musical brilliance on B.I’s behalf to shut up anyone who’d doubt them because of their idol status–though it may be an excuse to push back iKon‘s debut further. Also G.O. That boy’s voice is insane. Considering questions over MBLAQ‘s future, this could be a chance for him to give us a little something and start planning for a future.. I’ll stop there before I get ahead of myself.
Cjontai: I know this is beating a dead horse, but seriously YG, when are we getting our Minzy solo? I still don’t understand how she is the only member out of 2NE1 to never get one given her insurmountable talent. Everyone in Big Bang had a chance to shine alone, even Mino from Winner got one — what does it take to get one at this point? Color me confused, but hers is long overdue.
Thankfully SM stopped being a snob to f(x) long enough to allow Amber an opportunity to show off her skills. Her debut doesn’t excuse them from not granting their fans an official name, but I’ll take what I can get at this point. I’m going to join Cy on the G.O. bus because yes, that man should go solo now that MBLAQ is two members lighter. He’s got everything going for him so J.Tune Camp, make it happen.
Cy: Goodness, Cjontai! I can’t believe I forgot one of my favorite females in K-pop, Minzy. I heard her voice when she did a “Happening Ending” stage with Epik High. I was shocked at just how much flavor she’s got in them vocals. I’d like to add Minzy to my list. I guess I’m always so focused on her dancing that her smoky voice kind of flew under my radar. But if anyone deserves a solo, it’s most definitely 우리 막내 (uri magnae).
Hania: I’m desperate to see more of K-pop’s talented idol rappers go solo, finally proving the full extent of their talents and going beyond the pretty idol boy image. BTS‘s Rap Monster and Suga have been teasing that they’ll drop either solo albums or a collaboration together this year.
If this happens, they’ll get their own space to showcase not just their rapping, but also their composing and songwriting skills. I’m also with Cy that once iKon gets through their official debut, both Bobby and B.I are destined to release solos. I’m particularly keen to see Bobby’s, as he prides himself on being different to other idol rappers, and I just want to see him let loose and prove it.
Like many of you, I adored Jonghyun’s solo. He’s always been destined to take centre stage, and his solo debut showcased his beautiful showmanship and his distinctive voice. Of the plethora of recent solos, Jonghyun’s stands on top of the pile.
Chelsea: I’m still recovering from Jonghyun’s solo debut last month. I’m going to second everything Cy said about both his and Taemin’s solo albums. Out of all the solo debut’s so far in 2015, Jonghyun’s has hands-down been the most impressive for me. With SM’s solo party in mind, I’m really looking forward to Taeyeon’s solo debut and hoping that she will have more “If” style ballads than pop oriented tracks.
I don’t know if this counts, since technically he’s already done it in Japan, but I would love to see Daesung of Big Bang have a real Korean Trot solo debut. In terms of females, I’ll always be holding out for a Luna solo. She has so much untapped potential that SM needs to acknowledge already!
Andy: Despite a few hits and misses for G-Dragon and Taeyang, I’ve always been a fan of Big Bang’s solo efforts. However, like Chelsea said, I would like a real Korean solo debut for Daesung. For females, I enjoy Brown Eyed Girls’ solos and HA:TFELT killed it last year. I’m thankful Amber got her shot, because…well, it’s Amber.
I would love for Block B‘s Taeil and Shinee’s Onew to get official solo promotions. We know they can sing from the random solo songs they’ve had. They have honey voices that make me melt into a puddle of feels. I’m hopping on the Minzy train with Cy and Cjontai. It’s time for baby girl to slay us with her vocals and dancing in a solo.
Johnelle: I’ve been whining forever for Daesung’s Korean solo album, so I agree with everyone else about that and a solo for Minzy. Now that Yong-hwa has released his solo album, I would love to see C.N.Blue‘s Jong-hyun also release one. I think Yong-hwa is a great songwriter but, I’ve always loved Jong-hyun’s songs and voice more.
What about you, readers? Who do you want to see with a solo album?