[Review] With the help of 3LAU, Hyoyeon delivers convincing dance track in “Punk Right Now”

Earlier this year, I spent much of my review of Hyoyeon’s first DJ HYO track bemoaning its lack of structural risk-taking. It slavishly followed the standard EDM, beat-drop archetype. And the thing is … new single “Punk Right Now” kind of does the same thing. Yet, the song takes this formula and makes it memorable with hard-hitting, percussive production and over-the-top, trashy delivery.

Working with American DJ/producer 3LAU, “Punk Right Now” sees Hyoyeon delivering her most convincing dance floor track yet. Its title is as ridiculous as her Eartha Kitt/lioness-esque delivery of “I am … rrrreckless” during the opening verse. But that tongue-in-cheek humor positions the track well. This isn’t something to take all that seriously, and the more you’re able to remove a critical lens, the more fun you’ll have. Hyoyeon sees to that, prancing and pouncing all over the track with a mix of bratty rap and brief interjections of vamping melody. But as irresistibly bonkers as she is, it’s Punk’s pounding instrumental that steals the show.

I will never be a fan of beat-drops-for-choruses, but “Punk Right Now” wrings unexpected life from the overused structure. The percussive bounce at its heart is instantly addictive. Repetitive, yes — but addictive all the same. Contrast this with the brittle drop at the center of Jennie’s “Solo yesterday, and the difference could not be more stark. “Punk Right Now”‘s instrumental opens up during a truncated second verse, supplying a welcome dose of atmospheric synth that keeps the central riff from growing too repetitive. It may not be high art, but “Punk Right Now” is a brash, campy blast.

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