June 23, 2016

[Review] Sistar - I Like That

Sistar is back! After underwhelming us for the last two years with "Touch My Body" and "Shake It," teasers for "I Like That" showed a possible return to older times, while still using the upbeat dance tempo that is so infectious. I have been yearning for another addition to Sistar's library in the vein of "Alone" and "Give It To Me," so hopefully it's something like that. I'm also itching to have another installment of Girl Group Power Rankings, but wanted to wait until Sistar or Girl's Day had their comeback. That way, the 4 out of the top 5 (and 8 out of the top 10) will have released something since the last ranking.
Sistar probably have the best pair of vocalists in Hyorin and Soyu, but you wouldn't really be able to tell in "I Like That." As per usual, Hyorin takes the lead, while Soyu and Dasom are support, and Bora gets nothing at all. There has to be a Sistar release (title track) where Bora sings, right? Eventually? Anyway, while I'm a huge Soyu fan, it's understandable that she took a backseat here. Soyu's voice is much more breathy and sensual, which isn't really suited for a majority of this type of song. They used her sparingly, but also effectively. This leaves Hyorin's more versatile voice dominating all parts of the song in usual fashion. As good as some girl group rappers are going this year, the vocalists like Linzy, Choa, and Hyorin might have it better, which is crazy to think about.

Credit needs to be given where it is due, and Dasom gets almost perfect marks all around in this comeback. Not only was she the star of the music video, but you can see her progress towards being a more competent singer. Back in "Touch My Body" we got to see her flash a high note, and here we see a continued maturation of Dasom's ability. She has come a long way since "Alone," and even further since debut. To closely match pace with Hyorin and Soyu is a momentous feat. This song has a little of everything: breathy vocals and a fast-paced chorus, solid contributions from every member, and an explosive finale. The only thing I don't like in "I Like That" is the chant prior to (or the first half of) the bridge. Don't get me wrong, it's hilariously perfect for Sistar to talk about how fine they are, but still serves as the weak point of the song, if only briefly.
There probably won't be much in this part of the review, because the rap in "I Like That" is so damn short. Bora gets a mere 10 seconds (which is ridiculous in a bad way!), but she manages to make the most of such a limited rap. She brings her signature charisma to the table, and I have no doubt that if the rap was longer it'd have been even better. Even with the rap as is, it's still good enough to be discussed in the upper echelons of girl group raps in 2016. Words can't describe how upset I am that she didn't receive more to work with. If the rap was to be so short then at least she could've got some singing lines...
"I Like That" brings us the most intriguing and innovative dance we've seen this year. This is the first time I've seen curtains used in a choreography to this extent. We saw a glimpse of this with miss A's "Hush" back in 2013 but that was used ever so briefly whereas in "I Like That" the dance would be an entirely different story without them. This choreography requires much practice between the members and backup dancers in getting coordination and timing right, so the technique is really on another level here. Not to mention the girls also have detachable dresses(?) (I don't really know what to call them to be honest) that they take off and put back on at various points in the song. It may not be the most intense or exciting dance, but it's absolutely sexy, and the effort at which they pulled this off is inspiring. Admittedly, the part at 1:17 and 3:22 (check the latter for a full view of the move) is rather lazy, but a small gripe in the face of a most impressive dance showing.
If there's one thing that Sistar have not strayed from in many years, it is their ability to deliver music videos with extravagant visuals. In songs like "Touch My Body" and "Shake It" it was more about being in your face with how good-looking everyone is, but here the fanservice is more subtle, more elegant. Dasom absolutely shines in this MV. She's always been the odd one out in the group but she fits right in this time around. While she does go for the patented bare back option, Dasom goes to another level by adding in a Chinese poem on her back. Do I know what it means? No, but I do know it looks gorgeous and so does she. Because of Dasom's breakout goodness, Sistar has never looked better. Few other groups are opting for the sexy visuals now, which really leaves just AOA as Sistar's main competition.

The rest of the MV panders to the usual: standard choreography and individual shots. What differentiates the video of "I Like That" from the average run-of-the-mill MV are the little intricacies. There are some neat transitions that tease interactions between the members, like Hyorin throwing petals out of a window(?) and cutting to Soyu being showered in petals, etc. The illusion of Bora cutting her hair in the actual video was another nice touch, and kept with the whole spa theme the MV had going on. Speaking of illusions, I know we all loved Soyu's carpet tricks. And don't forget, having such an alluring choreography makes those dance scenes that much better. The only way this music video could've been more impressive is if in the silhouette shots, they were dancing behind curtains.
This is a much welcomed return to form for Sistar. They provide a powerful performance from Hyorin, mesmerizing support vocals out of Soyu and Dasom, and a beautiful combination of choreography and music video. Dasom's emergence in this comeback is legendary, and Bora also continues to shine even with a 10 second rap. Outside of the glaringly obvious short rap, there aren't any fatal flaws.and the upsides (choreography, Dasom, Hyorin) are too much to handle. "I Like That" is definitely worth liking.

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