Friday, May 11th, 2012

Sistar – Alone

Sexy lady pilots GO WILD! And it’s not a Heart cover, so don’t worry, nobody’s getting hurt.


Frank Kogan: Had developed a prejudice against producer Brave Brothers as a man with a clumsy hand and against Sistar as simulated K-pop, strong voices but no character. This track is the opposite of clumsy; recalls ’60s reggae, drizzlingly beautiful instruments and feather-light singing. I’m still not hearing hunks of personality in Sistar, but feather light is its own character, doesn’t need hunks, and I’m happily surprised.

Iain Mew: A massive and welcome contrast to 4Minute’s song that came out atthe same time. I love how funky and classy this is, gliding from section to section effortlessly even while including the improbable lines “I don’t want to cry/Destroy my eyes.” The piano hammers away without ever being too dominant and the keening wordless vocal sections top the song off perfectly, a brief glance at what could happen if Sistar weren’t so in control. They also mark the first time that Grimes/K-pop comparisons have ever made any sense to me. 

Brad Shoup: The group’s choice of video-shoot location is telling: Vegas, the city where signifiers go to die. (It doesn’t help that they chose two hotels that have seen better days – the Riviera and Circus Circus – as backdrops.) I don’t know if “my boy” is a subgroup reference, but it surely gave me fonder thoughts than those push-button coos and endless cymbal hits.

Edward Okulicz: “Alone” is indistinct vocally but impeccable in structure; its piano and bass are like taps to the pleasure centres and the rest of the song is heartbreak, cocktail dresses at poolside and bizarre word association (“destroy my eyes”). What I mean by this is that it’s both the most opulent K-pop song I’ve ever heard, while also being one of the funkiest, and the half-rap bit at the end isn’t even remotely awful.

Jonathan Bogart: I love the staccato piano, the disco strings and bass, the flanged synth, the helium-high vocal accents. If you’d told me it was a song about falling in love, or girlpower togetherness, or kittens in sunflower hats, I’d have believed you, and welcomed the thought — but that all this joyful energy is put to the service of a complaint about romantic loneliness is practically made to order for me.

Alex Ostroff: “I forget things that had been here with you,” reads the tattoo on her leg, and that just says it all, doesn’t it? Sexily melancholy maximalist disco transcends all barriers – national, temporal, spatial, linguistic. 

7 Responses to “Sistar – Alone”

  1. Pretty sure it’s “please dry my eyes”.

  2. Thank you mat! You are right, but it really really sounds like the former if you don’t know what you’re listening for.

  3. Oh gawd I can’t believe I missed reviewing this! I’ve listened to it a ridiculous number of times since it came out. I still think the 4minute track is a [10], but that could only make this an [11].

  4. Yeah this may be my k-pop song of the year so far.

  5. I would have given this a [3] or [4] I think – the production sounds like the Sugababes 2.0 doing a ‘live’ version of something that normally sounds much better. A special LIVE appearance on Graham Norton or Children In Need, it’s LIVE you know, which means they won’t try anything too difficult (save that for Jools Holland where mistakes are ‘authentic’). There’s a female guitarist (ooo-OOH!) playing boring barre chords and one of those session drummers with big hair and sunglasses who looks SO pleased with himself for managing to hit the snare in time (no fills required).

    I know saying ‘Sugababes’ as a comparison for a girlgroup feels lazy, but to me the vocals really are similar to early SBv2.0: not much harmonising, competent and well-blended but unadventurous.

  6. Except for “Ma Boy” (which, Brad was right, was a subgroup), Sistar’s singles discography for me, has personally not been quite stellar. They are probably one of the few K-pop girl groups who can actually get away with sultry without turning it into something that seems to cross the lines (see “Ma Boy”). Of course, its still the Hyorin show, but it seems the girls all upped their game and the production by Brave Brothers actually surprises, from the staccatto piano to the smooth vocals, the songs glides and floats like a butterfly but packs quite a loaded punch. One of the best K-Pop offerings of the year so far. More of this please.

  7. We should petition Starship Entertainment to officially change the lyrics. “Destroy my eyes” is so much better.