The tide in K-pop is turning. After idol groups ruled the music scene for the past several years, female soloists are now making a huge comeback. YG Entertainment knows this, so instead of squeezing out another screechy solo single from Park Bom or trying to revive Gummy’s dead career, they’ve launched a brand new soloist by the name of Lee Hi.
The 16-year-old got her big break as a finalist on K-pop Star (a reality TV singing competition), so she’s obviously got a fantastic voice. YG was quick to snap her up once the show wrapped, and the rookie songstress made her highly-anticipated debut yesterday with her first single “18.104.22.168″. I’m not the biggest YG fan under the sun, but they do know how to manufacture a relatively slick product, so it’s a shock to see how badly they’ve missed the mark with Lee Hi.
First of all, there’s the song. “22.214.171.124″ sounds like an old Duffy b-side circa Rockferry, back when every British songstress under the sun was trying to jump on the commercial pop-soul bandwagon to bag a hit. It’s every bit as tired and broke down as 2NE1′s Jeremy Scott ensembles or G-Dragon’s musical abomination “Crayon”, and comes across as plain lazy and safe.
But as dull as the song is, it’s nothing compared to the music video. Lee Hi must have popped twenty Valium before filming, because she has about as much charisma as a lawn chair and a face that’s unable to register any emotion. And it certainly doesn’t help that she’s a typical YG artist that can’t dance to save her life, so she can’t even bust out some hot choreography to distract us like an SM bot would.
K-pop Star only finished in April, so Lee Hi had just five or six months to prepare for her debut, and it shows. The whole point of K-pop artists is that they’re trained for years until they reach perfection and can slay the stage like a superstar. Why rush one out half-cooked? Especially when you’re an industry leader like YG Entertainment.
Usually I’d be comparing Lee Hi to a useless Western artist right now, but I can’t even do that. Even a talentless hack like Nicki Minaj has some stage presence and personality. Lee Hi is so boring that she makes Leona Lewis look like Michael Jackson.
Of course, none of this has stopped Lee Hi from being wildly successful. Because she’s under YG, “126.96.36.199″ automatically achieved an all-kill on the chrts and is currently sitting pretty at the top of the Instiz. At this point, I’m starting to believe that there’s nothing YG can’t do. They got BIGBANG out of manslaughter, drug, and sex scandals with ease, made “I Love You” and “Crayon” huge hits, and now they’ve taken Lee Hi to the top of the charts. Next thing you know they’ll part the sea and turn water into wine.