I’m a big believer in sub-units or solo projects taking risks and trying more niche styles- thinkOrange Caramelvs.After School, orJo Kwon‘s solo project vs. what2AMnormally does. I mean, why have a sub-unit at all if it’s just going to be the same stuff the band is already doing? It’s either going to pale in comparison to the full group, or it’s going to be better than what the group normally does and make some members appear unnecessary. When it comes toJiyoonandGayoonof4minute, we’re used to big vocals and sexy dancing, so2Yoonturned things around with “24/7“, a country-pop song and a dance so infectiously cute that child actressKim Soo Jungcould perform it with them on stage.
Country isn’t everyone’s thing, and if you’re not a fan, “24/7″ probably won’t convert you. However, since country music isn’t really heard in Korea and listeners aren’t inundated with it the way American fans are (those of you who live in smaller US towns with only a handful of radio stations will undoubtedly know what I’m talking about), this style doesn’t carry the same baggage that it would in the US. It’s also unique for an idol song in that it’s incredibly cute, but not childish at all- I wouldn’t be the first to point out its similarities toHannah Montana‘s “Hoedown Throwdown“, right down to the ‘boom-boom-clap‘s. It’s pure fun, and that’s what makes it so addicting.
24/7 might have been fun but it’d be a crime not to put the big voices of Jiyoon and Gayoon to use, which is why 2Yoon is also promoting “Why Not“, a song dripping with drama and emotion over a can’t-live-with-you-can’t-live-without-you relationship. It takes on the same rock ballad influences we saw withKARA‘sSeungyeon‘s 2012 solo, “Guilty” andJ-Min‘s ‘To the Beautiful You‘ OST and Korean debut, “Stand Up“. 2Yoon benefits from having two vocalists on the song, which gives it an added dimension. While this song is a little closer to what we expected to see from the duo, it’s still quite a departure from what we’d hear from 4minute.
The other songs on the album- “Nightmare” ft.BtoB‘sIlhoon, “Sse Sse Sse” ft.Kikaflo(which Jiyoon helped write), and “Black Swan” ft.Nassun- are all pretty good pop/R&B ballads, but they’re not really that unique. Yes, they have guest stars on them and Jiyoon contributed to “Sse Sse Sse” but they don’t really stand out. I find this strange becauseCube Entertainmentis good at strong concepts. For example, I felt likeHyunA‘s ‘Ice Cream‘ andYoseob‘s ‘The First Collage‘ were constructed and tailored well to each performer without sounding too much like their respective groups. Because of this, I found it somewhat disappointing, that on the surface, it appears 2Yoon didn’t receive the same level of attention. While this doesn’t take away from Gayoon and Jiyoon’s fantastic vocals, it also doesn’t fully live up to them. I still like the songs on ‘Harvest Moon‘ and love the fact that they’re promoting as a duo, but I can’t help but wonder what could have been.