The most surprising thing about “One Way Love”, is that it sounds like any other SISTAR release. But then again, that may be the least surprising thing about it too.
Solo releases are generally seen as a way for an artist to “reveal themselves” and differentiate themselves from their flagship group. This can be done musically, aesthetically or lyrically but much attention is usually paid to how an artist’s personality can be shown in a new light, given all the spotlight that is being given to what is usually a group affair. Hyorin may be an exception case to the rule. With “One Way Love”, Hyorin’s solo music video has all the trademarks of a SISTAR or SISTAR19 single but considering how Hyorin is already the force behind the group and sub-unit, this is more than acceptable.
“One Way Love” is a SISTAR song. The lyrics are written by longtime SISTAR producer Brave Brothers, who also assisted in the production and it shows. There’s those signature keys and high pitched electronic woops which dance over a beat that is pretty much all bass guitar and snare drum. Brave Brothers has been more miss than hit this year, but his team did well by Hyorin here. The sound is more minimal and the result is more of a slow dance pop song than the grungy disco feel that Brave Brothers often falls back on. As for the vocals, for the first two and a half minutes it’s nothing special. There’s not a lot of exhibitionism and Hyorin only lends a light husk and puts forth a workmanlike effort. The falsettos are uttered softly but nothing takes off. It more or less recalls a mixture of SISTAR’s vocal performance in “Give It to Me” and SISTAR19 in “Gone Not Around Any Longer“, only with Hyorin subbing in for the Dasom and Soyu lines, not exactly the best use of Hyorin’s talent. But then the last minute hits, and Hyorin reminds everyone why she is essentially a solo force already. Her rapping is so rapid and precise that it puts everything that Bora has done up to now to shame. The breakdown over the ending, where Hyorin finally lets loose a big brassy bellow, is well worth the wait. As a display of her range as a performer “One Way Love” may take its time (arguably, too much time) but the final half of the song more than makes up for it.
The video is a mixture of story and dance, and while it’s not very creative (SISTAR videos are never very high concept) it’s also not an eyesore in any way. The lighting alternates between bright whites for the choreography scenes and a warmer yellow for solo shots and the plot pieces. A soft light filter is also applied at points, and it’s done just gently enough to avoid looking like a Hallmark Film. Thankfully, there are no obnoxious constantly flashing lights and the direction doesn’t cut at a frenetic rate to the point where there’s no time to digest what’s actually happening on screen. The sets are nice and varied, from the obligatory sterile white dance sets, to the textured brick apartments to the dark cobblestone streets. The wardrobe does a good job to match the black and white theme that is carried out throughout “One Way Love”. It’s not the most subtle thing in the world, but its also not eye-rollingly blunt either. Hyorin could make a garbage bag look sexy, so it’s no big shock that she looks fantastic in this video. Heck, some of her outfits look like clothing appropriated from past SISTAR works as well (a compliment of the highest order). In all, the video doesn’t offer many surprises or take many risks but it’s a passable way to showcase Hyorin in all of her glory.
In one sense then, “One Way Love” feels like a missed opportunity. The lack of surprise is the main sticking point of “One Way Love” but perhaps it is just too much to expect to see something “new” out of Hyorin when her group efforts are pretty much solo showcases already. “One Way Love” proves that Hyorin can do it all; she can sing, dance, and rap and she does it all very well. She looks great and she has plenty of charisma to spare. Hyorin is a star and the only problem with this release is that these are things that everyone already knew. But if a release is going to have a problem, this problem is a great one to have.
Rating: 4 microphones out of one voice. Can we just retroactively call all SISTAR-related material Hyorin solo efforts?
Side note: Apologies for no Man Candy Monday this week. General spazzing about abs will continue on its regularly scheduled day next week, promise. Also, “Lonely” is an ok track, but One Way Love is more interesting to me and that’s why I chose this one. But both are good! Go hog wild!