Minah Turns Cold with “11°”
Girl’s Day’s Minah is probably one of my favorite girl group vocalists of all time. Other than being a big Girl’s Day fan, I’ve always loved Minah’s vocal color and wide vocal range, which is why I was over the moon when I found out about her first solo comeback in two years. Now through a self-composed track titled “11°” from her digital single album Other way, she reveals her true artistic abilities and continues to impress.
Minah’s Solo Works
When “I am a Woman Too” was released in 2015 at the height of Girl’s Day’s popularity, it was safe to say that she proved her capacity to perform solo. The song and her live performances were great, but I have to say that the path she wanted to take musically remained vague despite the great production value. We got to see a new side of her through her solo track “Truth,” which is part of Girl’s Day’s mini-album Everyday #5, as she not only took part in the writing process of the song but also sang a track completely different from her previous solo efforts. It had a mellow and haunting structure that I personally couldn’t get enough of because it went well with her vocal tone, but I felt that the track’s overall arrangement was quite heavy. Her new single, “11°,” can still be perfectly described as mellow and haunting, but it completely discards the heavy production style.
“11°,” at first listen, would make you think that it’s an odd choice for a comeback title track. For starters, it doesn’t have a single drum kick in the arrangement. It’s mostly accompanied by a guitar throughout the whole three minutes, which is why it would make you suspect that it doesn’t build up. Once the chorus ends, however, it does progress; and it progresses beautifully. Additional light instruments such as the strings complete the arrangement as the song reaches its peak. Nevertheless, the lightness is what makes this track stand out. Minah’s vocal performance in this track stands out more than a lot of her past solo tracks as the “quiet” arrangement makes her vocal color shine all throughout. When her husky vocals run through the guitars, the song endures a melancholic state that makes the listener float with the thinness of each element.
I am rarely a big fan of ballads as I find a lot of them typical and predictable, but the minimal instruments popping in as this song enters a new verse serve as an antidote. The melody carried from the first verse is completely identical to the song’s overall chorus, which may come off as repetitive to some. I, however, think that it’s genius, as you are completely ready for the refrain once it hits.
The lyrical value of the song is quite heavy; there’s a lasting feeling of emptiness in it, which Minah wrote wholeheartedly. She simply sings about remembering a past lover, and she wrote it with an overall contradiction between two emotions. I personally loved the line “Did I think of you because I miss you? Did I miss you because I thought of you?” because it’s where I felt that contrast between the two emotions, and it’s where her lyrics are most honest.
The music video for “11°” is completely minimal as well. It doesn’t feature a thick plot, but it does an amazing job of having the feeling come across visually, as Minah is portrayed to be lonely from the moment she wakes up to the end of the video. I personally love how simple it is, as the song doesn’t really need a grander execution, but the video does seem to have a hidden message in it.
I am probably not the only one missing Girl’s Day at the moment since they truly blew me away with “I’ll Be Yours” earlier this year, but if it means that I’ll get a Minah comeback in the process of waiting, then I’ll take it. Minah, whether as a solo artist or as part of her group, delivers every time, and knowing that “11°” is just her second solo single gives me hope that she’ll be one of the more consistent soloists we’ll have around. She once expressed in an interview that her true goal is to be an artist who writes her own songs and takes control of her own musical direction, so it makes me happy that she has taken her first few steps to becoming exactly that.