Although I love seeing an all-singing all-dancing female idol in K-pop, the Ariana (and, to a much lesser extent, Christina Milian) stan within me keeps expectations high for something titled Hands on Me – expectations which Chung Ha, of I.O.I and Produce 101 fame, did not exactly meet with her solo debut.
The “Hands on Me” opener is one minute of sultry, glitzy showgirl vibes, and should have been a full song since it has the most unique sound on the entire Hands on Me EP.
“Why Don’t You Know,” arranged by Christina Aguilera ‘OREO’, is the title track, and it’s a cute summery bop about falling for a cute but confusing fuckboy. Although Chung Ha’s vocals in the chorus of “Why Don’t You Know” are kind of annoying and whiny, the bop does have some replay value. Fortunately the choreography for “Why Don’t You Know” does a lot to bump up its appeal, although it isn’t as strikingly pretty as the choreography for “Rollin” or “Fingertip” (save for Chung Ha’s doggy style cardio right at the start, of course).
The video for “Why Don’t You Know” feels like a classy version of something HyunA would do, although I couldn’t understand what the mythical flying dolphins had to do with a song about not knowing where you stand with your loverboy.
“Make a Wish” continues in the same style as the “Hands on Me” opener, but sadly not as glamorous, whereas “Cosmic Dust” is the obligatory ‘I can sing’ snoozer ballad. The closing track of Hands on Me (and Chung Ha’s debut single) “Week” would go off during winter, but is a bit too generic for me.
The Chung Ha debut felt extremely hyped to me because of her I.O.I and Produce 101 relations, but the end result is an undercooked debut which needed some more pizazz. Chung Ha seems to be lacking in the Charisma, Uniqueness and Nerve required to stand out, despite obviously possessing the Talent – while “Why Don’t You Know” is not a generic skipper of a track, I felt bored.
I suppose Hands on Me is good enough but, while I’m grateful that M&H Entertainment didn’t go down the aegyo path, it’s not as phenomenal as CAMO is obviously going to be.
BoA, come back and show these rookies how it’s done!