DJ HYO Zaps Back with Trance Track “Badster”
It’s been eight months since the release of EDM hit “Punk Right Now,” and DJ HYO (formerly Hyoyeon) is once again showing the world just how punk she really is. This electrifying single marks the third official release under a new name and a new attitude—but we aren’t complaining! If this bop doesn’t leave you feeling like a badster, then you just haven’t listened to it enough.
BADSTER: The Before and The Now
Besides debuting in SNSD’s subunit Oh!GG, HYO has been mostly focusing on her solo activities as a DJ under Scream Records, S.M. Entertainment’s rather quiet label for EDM. This started in 2018 when her first single under the label was announced, alongside her new stage name and the news that she would be actively promoting in events across South Korea. Since her solo debut with “Sober,” however, HYO has released only one other official single—“Punk Right Now” featuring renowned American DJ LAU3. The single was massively successful among U.S. audiences with the release of an English version. Thanks to this, an English edition of “Badster” has also been released alongside the Korean track, and though the lyrics are distinctly different, the message remains the same. HYO is a punk and definitely not one to be messed with.
That brings us to the present, where we were all quite surprised when first listening to “Badster,” a psychedelic trance track with an electronic flair and heavy beats throughout. This is definitely the kind of music that you’d hear at a festival to get everyone energized and moving, which shows how her developing career as a DJ has influenced her music. She actually co-produced and co-wrote this track, giving it a DJ HYO flair that we definitely hope to see more of in the future! With all things considered though, the heavy instrumental feels a little too heavy, taking away from the lyrics that suddenly seem a lot further apart than they actually are. It’s worth noting that some people find heavy instrumentals really satisfying, as the lack of singing allows them to bop to the rhythm as much as they please, so it’s really up to individual preference.
The video, however, is a whole other world of awesome. The last concept you’d expect is one featuring a completely animated HYO, with scenes switching mostly between a first-person rendition of Beat Saber with guns, HYO dancing in a completely black outfit, and a disembodied head singing the lyrics, yet here we are. It fits perfectly with the genre, as the neon colors and fast-paced scenes could entrance anyone watching, yet the animation allows it to flow seamlessly with the beat of the track itself, making both the instrumental and video stronger together. While it may feel like lyrics are missing when listening to the track, watching the video alongside it definitely helps fill in the gaps. HYO gets more advanced weaponry throughout the video, starting with dual pistols and ending with a rifle that fires a laser beam so strong that it breaks the game itself. There’s never a dull moment to this video, and watching it for the first time is an almost unforgettable experience, though there’s a lot of confusion; it takes two or three replays to really understand what you’re seeing.
BADSTER: The After
HYO’s image has definitely been taking on a darker, yet equally empowering twist to the flowery displays of hope for the future highlighted during her days with Girls’ Generation. The release of “Badster” could be seen as an indication that the cute, sprightly HYO everyone once knew is now gone, having been replaced by an electrifyingly-confident woman who knows what she’s worth and isn’t afraid to say so. All in all, this twist is very welcomed. HYO is finally finding her own style, though it’s clear she’ll never stop emphasizing the importance of finding unwavering confidence when one is against all odds.