Despite Starship Entertainment’s attempts to convince the world otherwise, SISTAR‘s latest mini-album, “Alone”, centers around a hooker concept. Why? Because no one in their right mind flies all the way out to Las Vegas to film a music video if they wanted to imply something else. That story might have worked for MOGEF, but trust me, whatever excuse they gave is not why SISTAR is topping charts right now. Sex sells, and the choreography for “Alone” is significantly more literal than earlier choreography for “So Cool” and “Push Push”.
That being said, it’s not all hookers and hoes throughout this mini. They’ve got two feel-good pop numbers (“Lead Me” and “I Choose To Love You”), both of which are keepers, but which also totally clash with the hooker concept.
“Lead Me” honestly sounds like the second part of “Ma Boy”. I’m not sure whether I find that distasteful or not – though some have been butthurt by the implication that Starship is giving fans sloppy seconds – but it’s damned catchy either way, and it’s nice to see that SISTAR has been performing this one on music programs as well.
“I Choose To Love You” was Hyorin’s single for Samsung‘s “How To Live Smart” campaign, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had made its way onto this mini. It’s a gorgeous acoustic number that places Hyorin’s vocals – and specifically, her gorgeous tone – front and center with just a touch of reverb, but remains otherwise unencumbered by effects (since we all know that Brave Brothers loves him some auto-tune).
“Alone“, the lead single on this track, produced by Brave Brothers, is perhaps more of a step forward for Brave Brothers than for SISTAR. Deservedly or not, Brave Brothers has a reputation for blasting the same four chords for every drop, so to see him produce something catchy outside of the realm of dance-pop is a serious counter to the naysayers. However, for SISTAR, the visual aspect of this song (read: the leg slit dance) completely overwhelms the musical aspect. Hyorin once again takes center stage as the main vocal, but her voice has been auto-tuned beyond recognition, and the melody itself is boring. The instrumental is sultry enough, but the main reason people are buying this song is because the music video has done an effective job at assigning this song an image/concept to recall whenever people hear the music. It’s not the best thing musically for SISTAR, but it works. Another nice touch was the fact that they referenced their earlier work – “Ma Boy” of SISTAR19.
The best part about this mini is that the other songs on the album are actually decent (as in they might have been lead singles in an alternate universe). “Girls On Top” is surprisingly good, and it resonates with the disco feel of the lead single. The back and forth between singing and raps, as well as the vocal effects (repetition), is strangely similar to 2NE1‘s earlier work circa “To Anyone“, and while it’s not a line of inquiry I’m seriously pursuing, I wonder if others feel that way as well.
“No Mercy” also starts with a great guitar riff and then slides into a disco-inspired drop with a juicy bass saw wave at the chorus, keeping things relevant in the lower ends of the spectrum.
Overall, a great mini with a slightly disappointing lead single.