[#36] Lee Hyori - "Bad Girls"

Released: May
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: First Appearance
Other notable song(s) from 2013: "Amor Mio"

Hyori has become one of those acts that I don't necessarily like, but who I have utmost respect for. (Despite her big plagiarism scandal a few years back) Musically I think she has a very limited range of songs that really fit her voice, which in itself is pretty hard to like. But some of her lead singles have hit all the right spots, and as an act she has her strengths, so I respect her. The same goes for "MONOCHROME" -- I don't like most of it per se, but I get it, and I understand why it works.

I do, however, like "Bad Girls." There was another wave of "retro"-sounding singles this year. It's not in the same group as the "Shy Boy"s and "Twinkle"s of Kpop though, as this wave was a bit more mature and started to move away from catchy hooks and in-your-face instruments. (not that they're bad things!) "Bad Girls" was one of the best-executed proponents of that wave, and for good reason.

It's obvious from the very beginning that the arrangement of the song was well-thought out, with the sharp yet mischievous piano line on top of the even sharper, but solid, drum/percussion line (which was achieved by hitting the edge of the drum), and that continued for the rest of the song. There are these little drum rolls that otherwise go unnoticed, but which give the song some oomph at the beginning, and once the drum line comes out in full force the song just steamrolls ahead, taking an obnoxious (in a good way) guitar line with it. It's an arrangement that's very conscious of dynamics and of itself, but the execution is very comfortable -- what you get is a song that's well-done in both thought and practice.

But the other thing about "Bad Girls" that makes it stand out is the fact that even if the arrangement is as good as it is, the song still puts Hyori at the center of it all. Other songs on the countdown favor one at the expense of the other, some favor both but let them mesh together, "Bad Girls" puts the performance at the center of a well-crafted stage. You know Hyori has more than stable foundations on this song, but she herself can hold her ground -- the melody is strong enough to carry a song that is strong enough without it.


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