[Single Review] Sunmi – 24 Hours

Sunmi - 24 Hours

Former Wonder Girls member Sunmi’s debut release proves to be pure electropop goodness, complete with seductive choreography and sensual music video. After being absent from the k-pop scene for a long while, she has returned to deliver the goods with grace and maturity. I think this single is shaping up to be one of the strongest k-pop releases this summer.

Music Video

This MV was surprisingly very artistic for a song that is so sexy and seedy. I just loved how the setting would change seamlessly behind Sunmi and her lover as they roll and dance around passionately together. I absolutely loved the part where Sunmi is caressing the back of this half naked man and then seemingly pushes herself away into a dance sequence. Again, the transitions between scenes were completely seamless and I just have to commend JYP for this interesting visual trick because I haven’t seen this done in many MVs. Also a nice touch in that tango dance scene was how Sunmi’s turtleneck changed from white to black and her hair went from dry to wet, symbolizing her descent into the darkness of obsession or the lost of her innocence (though, to be honest, I think she dropped all pretense of being innocent since the very beginning of the video).

Sunmi pulls of this sexual concept very gracefully, in my opinion. Often, k-pop artists striving to fit this sexy concept fall short of expectations because they just simply try too hard to be sexy. Unfortunately, sexiness isn’t something you can put effort into obtaining; it is a reflection of your presence and how you hold yourself under the spotlight. Confidence. I think Sunmi’s graceful rendition of sexiness is due in part to the triumphant nature of this release – after quitting Wonder Girls because of a lack of purpose, she has returned to the k-pop scene with the intention of owning it. And how she owns it. If the live performance of her debut single is indicative of anything, it would be that she has the maturity and grace to pull it off in spades. The way she crawls on the ground and even on the dinner table in the video, nothing seemed strained or overdone about it at all.

Lighting choices were generally dark and there was, of course, the recurring motif of rain; everything was apropos to the theme of obsessive desire. After the tango dance section, the video gets noticeably more warped as snippets get played forwards and then backwards, scenes get blurred or shaky, certain snapshots get paused and others get fastforwarded; all contributing to a climactic finish to the video that reinforces the whole idea of time being warped when you’re in love, how an infatuated person will tend to play lovely memories in their head over and over, and how, when those feelings are gone, life moves on as if nothing has happened.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the inclusion of male backup dancers in the choreography because female releases tend to only include female dancers. The guys really pulled it off without ever compromising their masculinity so I have to give them props for their sassy dancing abilities.  Also, I really liked how Sunmi danced barefoot because it really gave her this contemporary dancer look and made the choreo look much more tasteful and sophisticated. Thank you for pointing your toes when doing those passés and extending those arms during your tango dance sequence. Very modern dance-like of Sunmi and her crew; I haven’t seen any k-pop artist venture into the realm of contemporary or modern dance so this is very refreshing coming from a k-pop artist. K-pop dance has its quirks and visual appeal but modern dance is classy and artistic, which is what I think this music video strived to do in the end.

Single

The track opens up immediately with the extremely catchy chorus so the song wastes no time in setting up the song. Right off the bat, the listener is bombarded with the hook of the song and the intense chord progression that will last for the entirety of the song.  Sunmi doesn’t have an excessively powerful voice but there’s a vulnerable, breathy quality to her voice and electropop definitely capitalizes on delicate vocals. I especially enjoyed the whispers sprinkled in during the verses (“ashwiwo ashwiwo” and “michyeoga michyeoga”) and the distorted “oh baby” and “baby ba baby” during the chorus, which were very reminiscent of releases from Britney Spears. The chiptune instrumental combined with an aggressive beat were incredibly infectious and catchy and so electropop. I can hear that tie to JYP in this song though because it sounds similar to miss A’s Touch. The dark obsession theme and the fittingly ominous electropop sound are common factors tying the two releases together.

That tango section during the bridge was very unexpected but, like how the video had seamless transitions between seemingly disparate scenes, tango did not seem out of place amidst the electronic instrumental because the transition between the verse and the bridge was done so well. The tango section really upped the classy level for this song and any thought of this song being a guilty pleasure song was dissolved as a result.

The harp used to transition out of the tango section was a little distracting but the song picks back up right away to the electropop chorus so I can forgive that little glitch. Maybe that glitch was intentional to show–(I need to stop the AP English analysis).

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Conclusion:

I was honestly blown away by this release. I am usually not too kind when it comes to rookies and their debut releases. Though Sunmi is technically not a rookie, this is her first step in her solo career and I think she is off on a strong start. This release has the makings of a very strong k-pop single – sensual concept executed well, catchy as hell electropop, engaging MV, and sassy and sexy choreo for the live performances. I think Sunmi nailed it with this debut release and I am glad that she has returned to the k-pop scene with such a solid single release. I hope her subsequent releases will be this strong, if not stronger.

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TL;DR

Very catchy and classy electropop song about being obsessed with your lover, complete with a tango section and sexy choreo and sassy men as backup dancers for a hot, barefooted Sunmi. 

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5 comments

  1. Despite being JYP version 7.0, I think you hit the nail on the head as to why this song succeeds. I do find some of the song’s (not video’s) transitions lacking, but Sunmi’s confidence really makes up for all the downsides of the the song and the limitations of her voice. Call me impressed.

  2. I enjoyed your analysis, but n.b. Ga-in has already charted this territory back in 2010 with “Irreversible”, so Sunmi is by no means the first to “venture into the realm of contemporary or modern dance”. In fact, it’s fair to say that Sunmi and JYPE were inspired by Ga-in (and her electrotango stylings), and possibly paying homage to her, given how the single cover so closely mimic’s Ga-in’s Talk about S.

      1. Ah, I see. Yeah, I discovered Ga In’s “Irreversible” shortly after I wrote this review (which is why “Irreversible” shows up on my playlist that was posted after this review). After watching the MV for “Irreversible”, I definitely agree that Sunmi’s release is definitely paying some sort of homage to Ga In’s work. Thanks for pointing that out! My scope on k-pop isn’t that wide, especially when it comes to solo artists, so I think when I said that I hadn’t seen any k-pop artist venture into the realm of contemporary or modern dance, I really meant that I, myself, had not yet witnessed where the inspirations behind this release came from.

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