Once the maknae of 2NE1, Minzy’s departure from the group on 5th April 2016 eventually saw the total disbandment of 2NE1 later that day after which the group’s final single “Goodbye”, written by CL as a letter to Minzy, was released on 5th January 2017. However, like a phoenix out of the ashes, Minzy has finally returned to the Hallyu world, signing with a new label The Music Works and releasing her first solo EP, “WORK 01. UNO”, on 17th April 2017, an R&B-pop, ballad, and dance-pop album that screams Minzy and her influences and showcases her skills as a solo artist.
NINANO ft. Flowsik
‘Ninano’ is the title track of this EP, and what a title track it is! It’s a heavy club track, with a slight reggaeton/R&B-feel as well as electro-dance influence. The most interesting elements of this track are the synth strings and the steel drums that add a whole dimension to the track. It can be a slightly jarring track, especially if you’re not into these genres, but it works well and showcases something a bit grimier than we’re used to in colourful and vibrant K-Pop: something definitely welcome at the moment!
‘Superwoman’ transports us to a mid-noughties R&B-style track, with a piano, finger-snaps, and synths that support her raspy vocals. It’s a light track but one that also feels overwhelming and overpowering despite the lack of noise and clamour. It’s a wonderfully produced track and one that deserves to be the second title track of this EP.
ING (Alssong Dalssong)
‘ING’ takes us to another reggaeton-influenced track that makes you want to move and dance along like there’s no tomorrow. It’s a track that definitely belongs in a club setting, and one that would from the get-go get you moving. It’s an easy track to listen to and less jarring than ‘NINANO’, which definitely helps you to appreciate it more.
Flashlight ft. Jay Park
Any collaboration with Jay Park is going to be a winner: and here the duet with Jay Park is a definite winner. ‘Flashlight’ is an easy-to-listen-to R&B track, smooth and sexy, but also a track that really showcases Minzy’s vocals. It’s a great track and really highlights her versatility to play around with different genres without losing her audience.
‘Beautiful Lie’ closes this EP with a 2NE1-like ballad, a tone that we’re definitely familiar with, and a tone that will make the fans who followed Minzy through her time with 2NE1 nostalgic and appreciate 2NE1 and the things that Minzy learned with them even more. It’s a tragically beautiful track and one that will send shivers down your spine.
NINANO (English Rap Ver.) ft. Flowsik
This version of the track features Flowsik’s rapline in English rather than in Korean (which interestingly makes it easier to listen to!). Ultimately, this track keeps the EP together and sets the tone for the rest of the EP.
Overall, this is a great solo release from Minzy. Whilst it’s not necessarily to my liking, I can definitely appreciate what Minzy is doing as she finds her own way in the industry as a solo artist. It’s a release that will keep her old fans and bring in new ones, and one that has a far wider distribution range given its potential uses in club settings and therefore to older audiences. Overall, it’s a winning solo debut and one that will set the tone for the other former members of 2NE1.
Release date: April 2017