Album Review: Hyuna – A’wesome

On the 1st of August in Korea, Hyuna had her official comeback as a solo artist after news of 4minute’s disbandment. This was the Korean soloist’s 5th mini album and marked her official debut under Cube while no longer being part of a kpop group. “A’wesome” consists of 6 tracks that vary in style to exhibit Hyuna’s new unique artistic taste. Listen to the album now if you haven’t already!

Tracklist:

  1. U&ME
  2. How’s This – Title Track
  3. Do it!
  4. Morning Glory (featuring Kim Ahll)
  5. Seduction
  6. Wolf (featuring Hanhae of Phantom)

Runtime: 20:53

Recommended for: Listeners who enjoy electronic dance music, synths and upbeat tracks that you can dance along to.

Not recommended for: Listeners who enjoy ballads and soft, soothing music.

Album Review

Track One – U&ME

The song begins with a high-pitched synth melody, Hyuna’s soft and pretty voice chiming in with the first line of the track. A tropical sounding electronic beat follows this, her soft vocals continuing to sing the first verse. The drum then kicks in, making the beat modern yet slightly retro, Hyuna transitioning into rap during this part to increase the song’s intensity. As the song continues increasing in energy, it leads up to the chorus, which results in a burst of sound. The beat drop exhibits amazing sampling, her voice blending in well yet prominent over the synths. The rhythm gives off a summer-y vibe, making this track remind me personally of shimmering golden sands and strong sun rays. This track is the definition of a summer bop and rightfully takes its place as one of my favourite songs on this album.

Track Two – How’s This?

This song starts off full of energy and intensity, an upbeat and fast tempo beat being made from a variation of hands clapping together. Hyuna’s voice starts off strong and impulsive, as if she’s talking along with the beat, a brass instrument complementing her vocals. The drums then start to kick in, leading up to the first beat drop of the song, only a mere twenty seconds in. The beat then drops, creating the perfect song to have blasting at night clubs, strip clubs or any kind of club. Hyuna’s fragmented vocals pitch in at different times to go along with the beat and support it as it lacks in a certain wow factor, in my opinion.

The part after the drop however, is what I love. The music transitions into almost a trap and hip-hop fusion mix, a chiming melody going along with the grimy beat and Hyuna’s voice. The clapping is back, but not as intense as before in order to prevent Hyuna’s vocals from being overwhelmed. The synths then start to get louder, increasing in intensity in order to progress onto the hook of the song. This song took a few listens to grow on me, but I wouldn’t disregard it as just ‘noise’ like many others have been doing. I think it lives up to what I was expecting; a club song. I could definitely twerk to this, but it wasn’t outstanding for a title track.

Track Three – Do it!

This track is another song on the album that starts with clapping. The auto-tuned repetition of ‘do it’ is what the listener first hears, which goes along well with the claps. A short and confusing drum beat then transitions the song into its first verse. Hyuna doesn’t seem to really be singing the first verse, but talking it. The layering of her voice is evident too, the drum beat back and supporting Hyuna’s shaky vocals. The hook is interesting however, and gives the song character. The chorus is a very nice surprise when listening; I wasn’t expecting it but it definitely impressed me. It’s inventive and unique, the intensity of the song changing as it gains a pop-y, funky beat. The chant of ‘automatic’ which is followed by Hyuna’s soft, pleasing to the ear vocals is my favourite part of this track.

In my opinion, this song would’ve fit as a better title track for this mini album as it reflects the album as a whole better than ‘How’s This’. When listening to ‘How’s This’ I expected the whole album to be full of twerk anthems, which is far from reality. This song has the perfect characteristics to reflect the upbeat nature of this album, and is more public friendly.

Track Four – Morning Glory Ft. Kim Ahll

This song, compared to others on the album, is much slower in tempo and beat. I absolutely love the chilled out and relaxing beat made up of the soft drum rhythm and piano complementing each other. This song, unlike other tracks relies more on Hyuna’s vocals to keep it going than the actual music. Her voice really gets the spotlight throughout the entirety of the first verse and chorus. There’s no drastic change in the melody when transitioning into the chorus, making the music flow continuously. Kim Ahll’s lazy rap also fits well with the overall feel of this song, and isn’t too overpowering. This track is definitely a refreshing change, and one I wasn’t expecting when first listening to this album.

Track Five – Seduction

This track starts off with what sounds like a few sloppy kisses being given to a lucky microphone. Then, oh my God wow the transition into the initial beat of this song was not one I was expecting. From the first few seconds I can already tell this is going to be a trap-esque, club song. Hyuna’s voice is manipulated in a way which makes it go perfectly with the beat of the song. The backing vocals support her rap, chiming in at certain times with what sound like… moans? Oh wow, okay this song definitely lives up to its title. The hook is so interesting though! The bass is dulled down so that the trap elements of the beat are at the surface of the song, and then transition into Hyuna singing her next few lines in a very suggestive way. This song’s definitely a hot listen. I could see it playing at a club as the dance floor gets hot and steamy.

Track Six – Wolf Ft. Hanhae

This song definitely secured its place as one of my favourite songs from Hyuna and my favourite song from this album after the first listen. Where do I begin? The start of this track mirrors a futuristic melody that only grows in intensity, before disappearing into a soft, slow beat. The rhythm of this track in the first few seconds is so dulled down and muted that it almost isn’t there, Hyuna’s voice once again having the spotlight of the first verse. Her voice is dreamlike, and softly carries the listener through the first part of the verse. The soft chimes in the back work as a pulse for the beat, adding to the track’s RnB feel.

Hanhae then starts to sing, his voice both complementing the melody and Hyuna’s previous vocal style. His voice stays at the same level of strength as Hyuna’s, retaining the track’s slow feel that it started off with. The drums then start to make up more of the beat when Hyuna starts softly rapping, making this song fit more into the category of K-Hiphop than pop. Hanhae’s flow of rapping is one that appeals to me personally, and adds to the song in my opinion. The break down as the song transitions into the chorus is so appealing to the ears, making this track a definite slow jam. Although there isn’t much progression in the beat as the song continues, Hyuna and Hanhae’s duet keeps it interesting.

This song also has a sensual beat that adds to the intimacy between both Hyuna and Hanhae’s vocals. It almost feels as if the two are singing to each other, their voices in sync perfectly. This track is definitely one I’ll be repeating, and could easily listen to whenever I feel like escaping into music and forgetting about reality.

Summary

Hyuna’s solo debut after news of 4minute’s disbandment lived up to my expectations and exceeded them in some ways! The title track chosen for this album in my opinion was not fitting, as it failed to exhibit the album’s overall feel and only stuck to a club sound that doesn’t appeal to all of the public. However, the b-sides this album had to offer were amazing, and truly showed off Hyuna’s new and unique personal style of music. I can’t wait to see what other sounds she has to offer in the future as a soloist!

Replayability:

green

All songs appealed to me in different ways and I had the album on repeat after my first listen.

Cohesiveness:

green

All of the songs on this album complement each other and fit into the same genre of music.

Originality:

green

Hyuna showed off her unique style of music with this album and produced songs that were refreshingly different compared to some other releases!

LeeTaeyongsWife
NCT Enthusiast - Drama Addict - Music Critic.

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  • u gonna give it all green but only 4 stars a hell na

    • Personally I think one of the main reasons I wasn’t able to give this album 5 stars was due to How’s This being chosen as it’s title track. The album overall was great, but still needed slight tweaks and improvements in order to attain a perfect rating. 4 stars is still an amazing score!

  • Sailor Mars

    How’s this sucked so much. Terrible song. 0/5 for me.

    Now Wolf on the other hand 40/10 stars! That song is a masterpiece, Hanhae sounded amazing and was the best feature Hyuna could ever get! Tbh I wish the song was just him, his voice is so ethereal and smooth. I could listen to him on and on and on and on and on! Honestly this should have been the only song she released!!!! It would have gave her a PAK TBH I’m not bei delulu! Hanhae is just that good! He carried the song I fucking LOVE Hanhae

    • I think some elements of How’s This really appealed to me and made the song an interesting listen, but it could’ve been executed in a better way. I definitely agree with your thoughts on Wolf! This song was a beautiful listen from start to finish and definitely stood out on the album. Hanhae’s voice was very impressive during the track and tempts me to explore his own discography.

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