Album Review: Hyuna – “MELTING”

This is Hyuna’s second solo mini album under Cube Entertainment. It was released on October 21, 2012.

Cute ice cream cone design on the cover. I actually kind of like that Hyuna is not featured here because it leaves more to the imagination.

~

흐트러지지 마 (Heuteureojiji ma; Don’t Fall Apart) opens the mini-album with flair. The first thing I noticed about this song was the sense of urgency established in the instrumental by the sirens, snare drum beats and disembodied shouts. Hyuna comes in along with the beat and coos at us in her signature talk-rapping, which, combined with the strong beat and synths, comes off as more fun than annoying. This is a pretty short song, but it packs in a lot of sound and gets us in the mood for Hyuna’s fun pop stylings.

So, remember the hyper-cute sexuality of “Bubble Pop”? And the in-your-face swagger of “Change”? Well, combine a little of the two and you have Ice Cream, a fun little ditty that’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from Hyuna: rapping and singing delivered with coquettish suggestiveness and a danceable beat. In my opinion, this song doesn’t have the immediate sense of fun that “Bubble Pop” had when I first heard it, but I can absolutely see why it was designated the lead single for the mini. With her unusual rapping style, Hyuna does that amazing thing where she makes herself seem totally adorable as well as powerfully desirable. Combined with the beat and the coy hook of “I’ll melt you down like ice cream,” this song had me sold.

After the first two songs, I was not expecting the slightly more low-key 풋사과 (feat. Ilhoon of BTOB) (Putsagwa; Unripe Apple). The first big difference is that Hyuna is doing a lot more singing than rapping on this song, and I was pleasantly surprised by the sweet tone of Hyuna’s voice. Additionally, on the whole this song sounds a lot more sincere and even somewhat vulnerable, what with the sweet melody. It’s still very pop, but it’s still a different side to Hyuna than what we’ve heard so far on the mini. It seems like the rapping duties were relegated to Ilhoon on this song, which is fine because his rap is good and having Hyuna rap might have ruined the pleasant mood of her singing. Overall, a surprising song, but probably one of my favorites so far.

내 남자친구에게 (Nae namjachingu-ege; To My Boyfriend) is Hyuna’s take on a sentimental ballad and I have to say this one took me by surprise too, mainly by the vocal performance. All cards on the table, I didn’t know Hyuna could actually sing. Maybe this is a recent development, since idols receive voice lessons on and off all the time, but as it turns out, Hyuna’s singing voice actually has decent tone and dimension to it. She gets pretty breathy sometimes and her belting is a little lacking, but there’s a slight hint of vibrato that indicates latent power and finesse. As for the song itself, it’s a fairly run-of-the-mill R&B love ballad, the type of which you’ve probably heard countless times already. Even though there’s a lot of room for improvement in Hyuna’s voice, I was fairly impressed by the inroads she’s made already.

Heed the title of Very Hot, for that is what this song is. Although the opening twenty seconds or so – Hyuna having a phone conversation with a man she refers to as “oppa” (Hyunseung of B2ST) – the rest is pure  swagger, with sliding synths, a steady beat and a slyly sexual performance from Hyuna. There’s also a rap from Sohyun, Hyuna’s bandmate, although she’s not credited in the title. I thought this song was a great way to wrap up the album and bring us back to what Hyuna’s known for best: hotness.

Summary: Hyuna is a controversial and polarizing figure in K-Pop. No matter what she does, people say she’s either being too cutesy or too sexy – she can’t win. Honestly, I like Hyuna both ways. On this mini album, we get sexy Hyuna, sweet Hyuna, and sentimental Hyuna, and they all pretty much work. Her vocal technique is improving, her rapping is cute and addictive as always, and even though sexiness may be her usual schtick, now we know that’s not all she can do. A satisfying release from Hyuna, although I won’t be fully satisfied until I get myself some of that ice cream I was promised.

Album Grade: A
Recommended Tracks:
Ice Cream Very Hot | 내 남친구에게 흐트러지지 마

5 thoughts on “Album Review: Hyuna – “MELTING”

    • I was actually glad I liked this album seeing as I wasn’t a huge fan of Bubble Pop! (the album, not the song). I’m happy people are liking this comeback bc tbh, so many people trash the shit out of Hyuna and I just want her to catch a break lol.

      • Bubble Pop was just horrible indeed >__< I hope she does get a break from Cube always pushing her. I want to see some 2Yoon now!

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