HyunA’s A Talk came out July 28, and it’s something to talk about! HyunA is mostly known for her sexiness and for her work with 4Minute, and for many non-KPop fans, her appearance in Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” Although she’s had quite a few solo releases and albums, few were memorable in exception of “Bubble Pop” and “Change” as well as her work in Trouble Maker subunit with B2st’s Hyunseung.
A Talk, however, changes many of the thoughts associated with HyunA involving how she’s nothing more than a pretty face. The mini album is filled with addictive songs that show how much of a talent HyunA could be, and shows how much she’s grown as an artist.
“A Talk” does a nice job introducing the album. It has a good mix of singing and rap that accompanies the mid-tempo beat.
HyunA’s singing has definitely improved! Her voice is soothing and shows great range, so it’s surprising she doesn’t sing more. Instead, the majority of her songs are laced with talk-rap that doesn’t really stand out in an industry overwhelmed with rapping idols. But, her singing can stand out, because it’s soft without being too underwhelming. And, it has enough strength to propel a song forward. If “A Talk” was more than an intro, it would have been nice to hear more singing, especially as it leads into “French Kiss,” A Talk’s stand-out song.
“French Kiss” is the album’s best. The chorus has pretty melodies, which is unexpected given the song’s dance beat. The instrumentals don’t drown out the vocals, which is something that usually happens in a HyunA song. Hearing her actually carry a song by her own merit is a breath of fresh air. Even the rap portions stood out as better than HyunA’s usual as it wasn’t as high-pitched as previous music releases from her. Toward the end of the song, it did start to sound a bit processed with extra auto-tune and synthesizers, which were wholly unneeded. The song stood out without these little extras.
The title track, “Red,” upon the first listen, sounded a bit too 2NE1-ish; the opening chords didn’t sound unique. While listening, the song felt more Dara than HyunA while the Middle Eastern sound samples felt more fitting to a 2NE1 standard.
“Red” is not a bad song, not in the least. It’s catchy with an electrifying beat, and the MV is just as fun. “Red” is a title track that can compete with “Bubble Pop” and “Change” as HyunA’s best. It shows off her fun side as well as her propensity to be sexy. It’s a song that will get stuck in a listener’s head, especially the chorus. There is a lot going on with the instrumentals and vocals, which normally would seem like a bad thing, but not in this case. Everything comes together for a party-feel.
B2st’s Yoseob lends his voice for “From When Until When.” Hearing him open this jazzy tune is the icing to the HyunA’s soft vocal cake. It’s nice to hear her work with someone else from B2st, because her voice compliments them well. Usually, HyunA is a bit on the high, squeaky end for some listeners. Those who aren’t typically fans of her rapping may enjoy how she takes on a lower range while Yoseob hits the high notes to make for a strong mid-tempo rap ballad. This collaboration should have happened a long time ago because they just sound lovely together.
As a whole, though, Yoseob feels like he’s more of the star since his voice is considerably louder and more prominent. It would have been nice to hear HyunA sing with him to show off her range over just rapping, but not all wishes can come true.
The one song that is amazing is “Blacklist” because it’s so nice to see some EXID-love with LE being featured! But, that’s where the greatness ends.
“Blacklist” is harder-edged compared to the album’s other’s songs. While it’s not the popular opinion, at times, the chorus’ instrumentals felt like CL’s “MFTB.”
The unnecessary swearing takes away from the potential coolness. It is possible to be tough without obscenities, and that’s one of the things that’s troubling about some of the K-Pop songs that have come out this year like Ga-In’s “Fxxk U.” Perhaps this appeals to some members of the Western audience, but it’s not cute; it’s more trashy than anything. While the song seems to be getting love on many of the K-Pop forums, it’s a song that had potential to close an album on a strong note, because it has an amazing track, and LE and HyunA’s voices blend excellently. Its potential was wasted by trashy lyrics. What a shame.
If you’re a parent looking to fulfill your child’s K-Pop love with a HyunA album, go with an iTunes purchase and avoid “Blacklist”, if you don’t want the dirty lyrics.
Overall, A Talk is worth talking about and one of HyunA’s best albums to date. There are more hits than misses. She has grown as an artist. The ending was a bit disappointing, but HyunA, hopefully, should only go up from here.
By: Joelle Halon