[Review] Sunmi strikes gold with driving beat and retro sound on “Siren”

Following the disbandment of the Wonder Girls, Sunmi looked to re-establish herself as a soloist with her ‘Warning‘ trilogy, consisting of “Gashina“, “Heroine“, and now “Siren“. Well, mission accomplished.

One thing I appreciated about “Siren” is that it felt like a complete effort, not content to just rely on any one aspect. Usually what’s neglected in K-pop is the verses, but no such thing takes place on “Siren” thanks to its constant, driving beat that’s immediately engaging. The chorus especially excels as a piece of jubilant expression thanks to the foundational beat being amplified by the throbbing retro synths. The refrain is also excellent with its punchy delivery, and while the “lalala” hook is borderline repetitive, it ended up on the right side of the line.

Sunmi acquits herself well in the studio, and her serious tone was a must for this. People frequently complain about her vocals live, but for the purpose of a recording artist, she always at least adequate if not refreshing in its maturity and lack of high-note wanking. “Siren” has a great throwback 80s vibe surrounding it, coming with a hint of modern touches, and it’s not hard to imagine this on Wonder Girls’ ‘Reboot‘ album. While I did take issue with the mood-killing bridge, there wasn’t much else not to like.

In the end, it was just hard to get away from the upbeat nature of “Siren”, which also seems to constantly push forward. It ends up being an appropriate exclamation point to punctuate Sunmi’s solo trilogy, and one gets the feeling that this effort will age quite well as it’s appropriately easy to get drawn in.

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