Sunmi Reels You in With “Siren”
Since the success of the hit single “Gashina,” Sunmi has risen to take the throne as the queen of girl crush icons. It’s safe to say that the world was waiting for a Sunmi comeback, and by the looks of the million views the music video achieved within nine hours of its release and its huge success on the charts, that statement definitely wasn’t a reach. The anticipation was high not just for the title track “Siren,” but the whole EP Warning, especially seeing as how Sunmi played a major role in the writing and composing. With the eerie—yet seductive—teasers, the music video seemed promising, and from the first moments of the siren-like, enchanting melody, the track definitely did not disappoint.
A fresh ‘80s-inspired track, “Siren” talks about Sunmi breaking out from an exhausting relationship where she is faced with unrealistic expectations from a lover who has created an image of her in his head that doesn’t match with reality at all. Siren, which can mean both a warning sign and a creature from mythology that enchants sailors (think Pirates of the Caribbean), is incorporated into the song in both senses of the word. The slow-building pace of the alarm-like intro sets the tone of the song, but definitely does not prepare us for the retro beat that kicks in. The song, written three years ago, was initially set to be a title track for Wonder Girls as part of their Reboot album, which explains the retro ‘80s influences the song taps into. In her luscious, grainy, and mature tone, Sunmi delivers strong vocals over the airy, trance-like melody. With a pre-chorus that delivers a punch and a catchy hook, the song pulls you in from the first listen.
The music video works as the perfect wingman for the song. A dishevelled (well, about as dishevelled as she can get) Sunmi darts from room to room revealing different hallucination-like versions of herself, all of which stand at complete opposite ends of who she is in reality. In each fragment, the version of herself is done up perfectly, yet cold and passive, with an obvious lack of original, unique personality. The pre-chorus repeats the line, “The beautiful me of your fantasies does not exist,” almost as if she’s frustrated with being put on this pedestal. As we have seen before, a lot of her previous videos feature chromatic color schemes and smooth scene transitions. “Siren” does not fall behind in that aspect, yet I feel it may be the most coherent of the trilogy of her three recent releases (“Gashina” and “Heroine”). With the one constant factor, her true self, weaving between scenes, the transitions feel effortless and cohesive, creating more of a narration.
As we have seen with the top success of many other groups, it's very easy for artists to fall into a rut and release very similar tracks in hopes of retaining that success. What I love about Sunmi is that while that may have been the easiest option, the success of the previous two tracks of the three-part single release has pushed her to be more involved in her music and add her own distinct color to her music. While the song does have the same charm that both “Gashina” and “Heroine” possess, “Siren” definitely has a more well-rounded feel to it. Whereas in the previous tracks, the song worked towards a drop which served as the main point of the song, this track doesn’t seem to have a main point. Instead, all aspects like the strong pre-chorus, the la la la hook and the EDM bridge work together to create a song that creates an auditory experience from start to finish.
Very much like “Gashina,” “Siren” is heavy with Sunmi’s powerful aura without sounding similar at all. By reuniting with composer Frants, who also worked on the Reboot album, Sunmi taps into a prominent part of her career in the industry and entwines it with her blooming solo persona. And with the release of the Warning EP, she has made it very clear who is running the show.