While Hyoyeon promised us Latin pop but betrayed us with “Mystery“, former KARA member Jiyoung came through with “Fake“.
“Fake” begins by setting a seductive atmosphere with a slow build, and it was clear at that point that the song would need a payoff to make the effort worth it in the end. The pre-chorus was effective at continuing to heighten anticipation, adding some tempo and making the instrumental’s Latin pop influences even more obvious. Thankfully then, Jiyoung delivered during an explosive chorus that upped the tempo again while adding a bunch of elements without making it too busy. It’s definitely not a hook song, but the chorus is plenty catchy, and the fact that it’s something I hadn’t heard in a while was definitely a plus.
Perhaps most surprising to me is that Jiyoung handled the song quite well. Not that it was a demanding vocal or anything, but she was credible at doing the whole seductive, whisper voice and managed to acquit herself decently in the chorus that needed some volume. Maybe KARA’s music and their part distribution just didn’t give her enough to do.
I do wonder about the extended breaks in “Fake” and whether or not those will prove for better or worse over the long haul, but they do break up any potential monotony or predictability to the track. In the end, the refreshing and fun feeling that permeated “Fake” was a welcome change and I’m glad she delivered where others didn’t.
The music video matches the song in terms of it being dark and seductive for the most part, and while I’m sure there’s a metaphor in here about Jiyoung being led by a blind male driver and people pasting their car with pictures of herself in tabloids until they can’t see any longer, mainly I’m intrigued by the visuals.
Jiyoung looks gorgeous and fierce, of course, but the color scheme they used for most of this drew my attention as well, switching between blacks, greys, and dimly-lit whites, and greens, reds, and brightly-lit whites.
The video even comes complete with a tap dancing sequence that, if not good, was at least something different for once.
It still blows my mind that Jiyoung is making her solo career work in Japan and is by far the most successful member of KARA post-breakup. More amazing is that I, uh, actually don’t disagree with her popularity? She’s been doing well in Japan by showcasing charisma and talent I didn’t see at all while with KARA. While some might take issue with the fact that she’s now ended the careers of both Mariah Carey and Gloria Estefan, I see “Fake” as another definite leap forward in her solo music career.