It’s no secret that Hyorin is one of the most talented and appreciated vocalists in k-pop. After seven years as Sistar’s leader, she decided to part ways with Starship Entertainment and set up her own agency: Bridge Entertainment. On February 6th she released “To Do List”, the first of a three singles series that marks her return to the music industry.

“To Do List” is a mid-tempo ballad with minimal instrumental — mostly guitar — that allows Hyorin’s voice to shine its brightest. She goes from deep low notes to falsettos always with precision and a very clear sound. Her falsetto has gotten especially less airy, a sign that she’s constantly improving her vocal technique.

The song is about the aftermath of a break-up, Hyorin knows it’s time to forget her ex-lover, but she feels like she still isn’t ready to completely let go of him. Hyorin has always conveyed a lot of emotions in her singing, and this song is no exception. It’s especially noticeable in the lower parts of the songs where she manages to express her conflicted feelings.

Even if I hate you to death

I can’t throw away a single memory

Because if I forget everything

Then it’ll really become like it never happened

The music video takes us behind the scenes of Hyorin’s American concerts that took place in 2017. Hyorin is seen going through different activities throughout the music video and allows us to see glimpses of her private life as well. For example we see her having a video call where she’s shown one of her beloved cats and she kisses her phone’s screen.

In “To Do List” we get to see Hyorin rehearsing choreographies for her American tour, recording some new music, passing by the studio and collaborating with local producers. While all of this is quite common to see as behind the scene content, there is also footage of her daily life; seeing Hyorin doing normal and common tasks such as taking naps in the van, working out and reading books there is a certain sense of intimacy and realness — as if she allowed us inside her world.

Everything that happens behind the scenes or in Hyorin’s private time is portrayed in black and white in the music video, while the scenes where her public persona — the Hyorin we see in photoshoots and on stage — is shown in colour. With this choice, she might hint at a duality: while she is fierce and confident on stage, in her private time she is seen being more vulnerable and frail.

After leading one of the most impactful K-pop groups of the second generation, with “To Do List” Hyorin has taken her first step outside of the idols’ world. Such transition is never an easy one, especially for a girl group member, but throughout her career as an idol Hyorin has always been praised for her outstanding talent both as a singer and as an overall performer. At this point she has nothing more to prove when it comes to her talent, and she’s challenging herself exploring new genres.

In “To Do List” we see Hyorin becoming more mature and stripping all the embellishments down: the instrumental is minimalistic and there’s only room for her powerful voice. Long gone seem to be the days of the bright and fun summer songs Sistar got popular with. While Hyorin won’t be promoting “To Do List” on weekly music shows, we will get to hear more new music from Hyorin in the immediate future as part of her three song release project. We’re looking forward to see where she will take us next.

(Images via Bridge Entertainment, YouTube.)