During the early Wonder Girls era, Sunmi wasn’t a member who caught my attention. Back when I first came across their music videos, I’d immediately know which one was Sunye or Sohee, but I wouldn’t recognize Sunmi, as she always faded into the background during performances. Things, however, took a total turn after JYP Entertainment debuted her as a solo artist. Now, she’s a lot more comfortable and has command of the stage, which she showcased perfectly with her amazing debut track. “24 Hours” is still considered one of the best female solo debut tracks from JYP Entertainment, and “Full Moon,” in my opinion, is one of the top five tracks of 2014. Her solo discography helped me appreciate her role in the Wonder Girls as I became a big fan of hers by the time she returned to the group in 2015.
With the Wonder Girls disbandment and her transfer to MAKEUS Entertainment, one can only wonder how Sunmi’s style and sound would change. I wondered most about her concept as she’s always had ones that stayed dedicated to their twists, like the tango-driven “24 Hours” and the Halloween-infused “Full Moon.”
Upon knowing she was working with THE BLACK LABEL group formed by YG Entertainment-based producer TEDDY, I wasn’t thoroughly satisfied with it. I was confident TEDDY was going to give her a good track, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to fit her as I know he mostly produces for female artists with the “girl crush” image. Still, I was excited because I didn’t know what I should be expecting; I also felt this way when I found out she was working with Brave Brothers for her first comeback in 2014.
By the time the first two lines of “Gashina” passed, I couldn’t contain my surprise. It’s evident that her vocal technique has changed; it’s a lot different from the laid-back style she used to sing with. It goes extremely well with the arrangement, especially since it’s also different from her past two singles. The track is a lot catchier and makes more use of hooks rather than using a linear chorus melody like what was featured in her past works. The marching beat after the first eight counts of the first hook works amazingly with the tropical house and hip-hop elements of the track, and it brings a greater intensity.
Completely different from her darker-toned music videos in the past, Sunmi enjoys herself in the music video for “Gashina.” It’s very refreshing as we’ve only seen some serious (and particularly dark) sides of her where she’s either dancing tango or biting someone’s neck and turning him into a vampire. You can see in this music video that she’s full of wit, and the comedic shots go surprisingly well with the choreography scenes.
My favorite element from a Sunmi comeback is the choreography as her overall stages are what attracts me. I had high expectations because I was completely blown away by her creative use of the sofa in “Full Moon,” which was perfect for the sensual choreography. While “Gashina” doesn’t utilize a prop for its highlight, its choreography still delivers, especially with the help of her flexible facial expressions. I loved the “finger-pointing” dance move during the chorus because it’s unexpected, especially when Sunmi is seen smiling before that part.
While I had tiny doubts in the beginning, “Gashina” proved that Sunmi is a trustworthy artist. With the single being critically praised and her third hit on the charts, she has proven that she can consistently deliver. She should also get credit for presenting something different each comeback; it’s already challenging enough to not stick to a concept that is proven to work. We are still witnessing the early stages of Sunmi’s brand new chapter, but with a comeback as solid as this, I can say she’s one solo artist that could reach the top in the coming years.
Title Track Score - 9.5/10
Music Video Score - 9.5/10