Hyoyeon makes solo debut with “Mystery”, sounding like a mid-00s J-pop soloist

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SNSD‘s Hyoyeon made her solo debut with “Mystery” recently, which was hyped as Latin pop but came off as having a lot more Bollywood influences than anything else.

“Mystery” sounds a lot like something Koda Kumi would’ve released in the mid-00s, with similarities ranging from the instrumental to the the way the hook is performed. That’s not a bad thing (arguably, but I liked it), and she surprised me with a solid vocal performance and the ability to sell herself as a solo act.

That said, I expect this to get praised more than it deserves by international netizens, both because it’s SNSD and because the Korean netizen hate on Hyoyeon has made people defensive about her. While I liked the instrumental because it instantly jumped at me in the beginning, and thus “Mystery” starts off on the right foot, by the end of it I felt like repetitiveness really started to dig in and one could see why this was an ‘SM Station‘ release instead of a standalone effort as it seemed a bit lazy on their part (the music video being crisp but rather basic being another example). “Mystery” could’ve been a lot better with a few more wrinkles thrown in here and there, perhaps a vocal break from the thumping and active instrumental, and I hate feeling like the song drags towards the end as it kills my desire to replay the track and/or hear it again.

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Somebody on Twitter the other day said they hoped I would begrudgingly admit that any Hyoyeon solo effort was a pleasant listen, and while I wouldn’t say “Mystery” was pleasant, I did think she did a surprisingly credible job of establishing a possible solo path for herself despite the fact that this song isn’t necessarily something I could see myself listening to over and over.

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‘Mystery’ Single Album

“Mystery” Song

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