(NOTE: This reaction post is a little shorter than normal due to lack of time and personal circumstances.) When I watched Produce 48 three years ago (!!!), Kwon Eunbi caught my eye almost immediately. She easily became one of my favorites, both as a contestant on the show and as a member of IZ*ONE. She’s so talented at singing and dancing, and I also admire her natural skill as a leader and strong work ethic. Truthfully, I was a little surprised she debuted as a soloist – mostly because I thought Woollim would put both her and Chaewon in a new girl group group. (Though with the rumors of Chaewon going to HYBE/Source Music, I guess this turn of events makes a little more sense.) But even if I wasn’t necessarily expecting her to go solo, I still think she totally has everything needed to make it.
Eunbi’s debut song “Door” is a fun blend of jazz and swing, which is a style I’d love to hear a lot more of in K-pop. It cleverly aligns with the image she had as a member of IZ*ONE (a group known for beauty and elegance both musically and aesthetically), but it also adds another level of maturity and sophistication. It’s very lovely, but it’s not quite as delicate as IZ*ONE’s signature sound – and I think that’s a good choice for Eunbi because it helps her establish her own persona as an individual artist. I immensely appreciate how “Door” lets her be equally classy and sassy, staying chic overall but throwing in some moments of light-hearted attitude. And I like how the music video builds on this duality, showcasing some very glamorous outfits and sets but also staying playful with an Alice in Wonderland vibe.
“Door” and its music video are great, but I believe the choreography is where Eunbi truly shines. There are plenty of K-pop dances that are staged to look like they come straight out of a musical, but those often involve large groups with many members. Though Eunbi has her backup dancers to support her and help fill out the stage – and they do a fantastic job of it – most of the attention is on her because she’s the solo artist. That’s a lot of pressure for someone just starting out their solo career, but she handles everything with grace and ease. When I watch “Door,” it truly feels like I’m at a Broadway show seeing the lead actress kill her big number. Eunbi’s truly pouring everything into her performance, and it’s a joy to see. Also, that part in the second verse where her backup dancers are literally moving her around in the air? AMAZING.
MY OVERALL INTEREST LEVEL
(NOTE: My options for each category are “Love,” “Like,” “Neutral,” “Not My Style,” or “Dislike.” But I rarely dislike anything, so I’ll mostly be using the other four.)
As my regular readers know, I have a pretty short attention span as a K-pop multifan. It’s around 30% me being picky and 70% me being super busy, and the current wave of comebacks we’re experiencing now doesn’t really help. So the unfortunate reality right now is that if a release doesn’t strongly appeal to my music tastes, I just won’t get too invested. This is what’s happening with “Door” right now – I like it, but I don’t love it enough overall to spend a lot of time on it. (Though I’ll happily watch that choreography over and over.) That being said, I think Eunbi has done an excellent job with her solo debut. She 100% delivered on all fronts, and it most certainly caught my attention. “Door” succeeds in highlighting her potential as a great soloist, and I’m truly looking forward to seeing what else she has to show us.
(“Knee Jerk Reaction” is a column I created to talk about comebacks or debuts when I don’t have a lot of time to write in-depth reviews. A knee jerk reaction is like an automatic response, so it’s a post about my initial thoughts on the song, the music video, and the performance if it’s available. Compared to my reviews, everything is more stream of consciousness and less analytical. And everything is 100% my own opinion!)
SOURCES: Featured image and music video belong to Woollim Entertainment.