Throughout Hyuna’s 17 years in the K-pop industry, she has kept her signature sound and image. Hyuna is best known for her bratty vocals, sultry image, and lively choreography. When you think of Hyuna, songs like “Bubble Pop,” “Red,” and most recently “Nabillera” come to mind. When you look at the corresponding MVs, bright colors, fun outfits, and symbolic images tie everything together. All the songs are the kind you play loud at a dance party. However, after many years with the same concept, Hyuna strips down her aesthetics and vocals with her latest single to show her softer side.

In her short time with P Nation, Hyuna made no drastic changes to her music. However, at the end of 2023, she signed with a new agency that is more in tune with her new outlook. The agency, At Arena, is fairly new and was founded by hip-hop producers Groovyroom. It is also home to other rappers like Gemini, Mirani, and her former musical and romantic partner, Dawn. Despite moving to an agency focused on rappers, Hyuna decided to tune up her vocals that her own rapping skills have long overshadowed. Melodically, “Q&A”, her lead single, is a simple song with an underwhelming chorus. On the other hand, it showcases Hyuna’s vocals like you have never heard before, which is a great start to a new direction in her music career. 

“Q&A” has a straightforward concept about a couple in love. In the beginning of the MV, Hyuna’s character in the MV has her bags packed and is traveling via a bus, implying that she is in a long-distance relationship. Noticeably, the partner is shaving his head, which might mean he is due to join the army. Hyuna looks solemn while traveling, but her face lights up after spending time with her partner. The couple do various activities like shaving the male lead’s head, painting, and riding a moped together while laughing and smiling. If this is their last weekend together, the two are not wasting time being sad about the situation. Instead, they are spending every last second together as happy as they can be which coincides with the loving lyrics of the song.

The voice of the song is an anxious partner questioning her lover. The repeating tagline, “Q&A” which refers to questions and answers fits in with the bombardment of questions the voice of the song has for their partner. In return, they tease their partner to also question them. Hyuna is also seen craving her partner’s attention by expressing annoyed facial expressions while the male lead is talking on the phone. In parallelism, the voice of the song asks their partner why they are looking elsewhere which shows that Hyuna is embodying the lyrics of the song into the MV:

Where are you looking, I’m right here (Don’t forget it)
Honestly only eyes on you (Shall we talk)
Since it’s dark, be bold (Do it now)
Hold me tight, with you I don’t mind (Oh my, oh my, my)

Unlike Hyuna’s other MVs, there is not too much to analyze in “Q&A.” However, a couple of scenes give us more insight into the couple’s relationship. While riding the moped, Hyuna wears a wedding veil, which further supports the idea that her partner might be leaving for a long time. A wedding, even a symbolic one, makes sense if the persona is looking to stay on her partner’s mind while they are in the army.

The last few seconds of the MV are especially relevant to this subtle story. The male lead is seen alone this time, without Hyuna, shaving his head. Hyuna turns to look at her partner while looking in the mirror, but her reflection walks away. While her heart is still thinking of her partner, her physical self has likely already left him to return home. It may not be a deep song, but the MV pulls everything together to tell us a story about a couple in love who are no longer physically with each other.

Another difference in this MV is the lack of a riveting choreography. Hyuna has never been too shy to show off a revealing outfit while engaging in a sexy dance routine. While she does have choreography for the performance version of the song, the MV is noticeably missing that section. Instead, the MV focuses more on the couple’s interactions to show their love for each other. Hyuna does dance in a black, sparkling leotard but she does so freely without any routine, which is not the norm for her. The scenes with her dancing are rare, though, and the MV keeps its focus on the couple and their quality time.

Hyuna’s actual vocals are the biggest surprise with this comeback. Her nasally sound takes a backseat, as she shows us more of her chest voice which is surprisingly smooth. Although we hear her belt in the bridge of the song, the chorus is disappointing with only the words “q and a” quickly chanted. Unfortunately, the song fails to take advantage of her singing voice, and a more hardy chorus could have brought this song a bigger hit. 

The good news is, while this may not have been the greatest comeback, it is a step in the right direction for Hyuna’s musical career. With a smaller agency, it is no surprise her MV is on the simple side, but that only means that can focus more on her musical growth.  P Nation did a good job of focusing on the performance aspect of Hyuna’s music with high-budget MVs, but did nothing to evolve her as a solo artist. As Hyuna, herself, has stated in an interview, she is now showing her true self. Hopefully, that means Hyuna will continue to focus on her beautiful vocals and perhaps tackle more music that will better showcase what she can accomplish

(Youtube. Elle. Lyrics via Genius. Images via At Arena.)