Tags: Brown Eyed Girls, Gary, Girls' Generation, K-Pop, Kpop, LeeSsang, Miryo, Music, Narsha, Review, Rude Paper, SNSD, Sunny, THE KOXX
- Party Rock (feat. Gary Of LeeSsang & THE KOXX)
- I Love You, I Love You (feat. Sunny Of SNSD)
- Revenger (feat. Rude Paper)
- Leggo (feat. Narsha Of Brown Eyed Girls)
Brown Eyed Girls’ fierce rapper, Miryo, has finally released her first solo effort, MIRYO aka JOHONEY. I’m not going to lie and say I was ecstatic when she announced a solo mini-album because I certainly wasn’t. She’s not my favourite member of the group but I do enjoy her raps most of the time. I was interested to see what type of concept and sound she would come up with for her record. Narsha and Ga-In’s solo albums were amazing so there was a part of me hoping that Miryo would continue that trend and surprise me. When the teaser for her album was released, it had a dark tone to it that had me intrigued. I assumed the album would be on the dark side with some great, heavy raps from the singer but I couldn’t have been more wrong. She went into a very pop direction, a direction that I honestly thought she would not embrace.
Miryo doesn’t escape the trends that K-pop holds onto rigidly because Party Rock (feat. Gary Of LeeSsang & THE KOXX) has a club-ready synth and hip hop production. This is definitely not the type of sound I had assumed she would venture into so it was a huge surprise for me. She throws out some quick, sharp raps in the verses with a slight dose of vocoder on them. There are light spasms of synths that give it a hectic, dance feel. It’s quite catchy but the chorus amps it up and blows up into an infectious party anthem. THE KOXX’s ad-libs in the chorus are vocoded to perfection and his vocals are the highlight of the entire track. Miryo’s vocals are pretty hilarious due to the way she enunciates. They’re both incredibly fun and mixed with the arcade synth line, it makes for a great hook. Gary gets to shine in the second verse and his hard rap is reflected by the melody as it explodes into a bombardment of crazy beats. Things just get crazier during the bridge as the music kicks into high gear while Miryo and THE KOXX provide fast-paced raps. This song is a whole lot of fun and one of the most memorable on the album. A part of me was hoping DIRTY would be an amazing dark rap song but it turned out to be very lighthearted. Although it’s not what I wanted, I like it a lot. The light guitar, synths and percussion are all mellow and contrast against her tough, smooth voice. It’s a pop and rap hybrid, more on the pop side though. She does quicken up her rapping occasionally during the verse to add a bit more power to it. She throws in some rock for the chorus and it blends into the synths for a breezy and massively addicting melody. Despite having a sad lyrical theme, the song is quite poppy and playful. Her light vocals are wondrous and very infectious. I love the sweet acoustic guitar in the middle eight. It’s so melodic and vibrant but sadly, her upset speech doesn’t mesh with it. The part where she lashes out should have been paired with a heavier beat because it ends up not having any impact. Luckily, the second half of the bridge remedies this as the melody is much more fitting for her intense rap. The final chorus gets a face lift and is much better due to her ad-libs. I didn’t like this at first but it’s a grower.
What would a Korean mini-album be without a ballad and I Love You, I Love You (feat. Sunny Of SNSD) opens with a clicking clock and a soft piano. A lovely set of strings joins the mix once she starts rapping and the melody progressively becomes more involved and engaging as it blossoms. Her voice is vocoded and it’s so unnecessary because it would have been fine without it since this ballad focuses more on organic instruments. Sunny’s voice remains untouched so it’s odd that only Miryo’s voice is digitized. The chorus is the highlight due to Sunny’s lush voice and it’s touching, especially her fragile “goodbyes.” Miryo’s raps just don’t carry the same feel. They sound awkward with the ballad arrangement and the sentiment isn’t carried through. Sunny’s actual singing sounds so much better with the melody and her performance is more emotional. Overall, it’s enjoyable but it’s not outstanding. Revenger (feat. Rude Paper) also starts with a piano but Miryo’s performance is a lot more dramatic and aggressive. As the song progresses, the melody starts to develop into a darker and heavier sound. Hard and gritty synths burst into the composition during the chorus and Rude Paper offers a rap that is just as tough as the melody while Miryo does the backing vocals. This is the type of song that I imagined would dominate the album. I really like the anger that she conveys and it reflects the title of the song. My issue with the track is that in the most aggressive parts, she’s relegated as the backing singer. This would have been so good if she had a larger role in the chorus because the verses are toned down compared to the rest of the song. I had no idea Narsha was going to be featured on the album so Leggo (feat. Narsha Of Brown Eyed Girls) was a great surprise. Miryo raps to a bouncy synth beat and as it quickens so does her singing. The fast-paced sections are very catchy and it gets more addicting in the chorus where Narsha steals the spotlight. She makes the song incredible. Her sweet, digitized vocals are delightful and paired with delicious synths, “and baby you‘re the only one I need.” Miryo adds the attitude and power while Narsha adds the love and beauty. It’s a great combination and it’s my favourite song off the record. The breakdown is amazing and it dies down into an atmospheric melody with fresh backing vocals and great vocoded vocals from both singers.
Conclusion: Miryo’s mini-album is the weakest of the three solo albums that have been released but it’s still enjoyable. My biggest fear for her was that she wouldn’t be able to stand alone without the rest of the group and that’s exactly what happens. Her raps just aren’t strong enough to carry a whole song and the direction she took didn’t help at all. Her guest artists, especially Narsha and Sunny, outshone her. She should have stayed away from light pop because it just didn’t work out too well. Furthermore, her vocals are heavily vocoded on the majority of the album. In her group material, her voice never received this much vocoder and she’s proven that she has a strong voice so it’s shocking that she uses so much of it here. If she went into a darker and heavier rap direction similar to Brown Eyed Girls’ recent music, the album would have been great. It’s commendable that she took an unexpected route and risk but it didn’t blow me away.
Recommended Tracks: Leggo (feat. Narsha Of Brown Eyed Girls), DIRTY and Party Rock (feat. Gary Of LeeSsang & THE KOXX)