Gina Choi aka G.NA, is a Canadian-born South Korean pop singer. This little lady received moderate success with the digital single “Things I Want to Do When I Have a Lover”, a duet performed alongside Kpop star RAIN. That intimate number showcased G.NA’s marvelous vocal abilities, making her debut one of the most anticipated among female solo artists. She later released an EP with one of the coolest titles I’ve ever heard in Kpop’s history; “Draw G’s First Breath” was G.NA’s official introduction to the music scene, “Black & White” sustained the eager fans, while her latest release, “Top Girl”, fills us in on her new style and where she’s at. If you’re glancing at the musical concept of her latest EP compared to that of her debut then you’ll see a completely different G.NA. I was bedazzled by her wild and edgy dirty blonde streaks during the promotion of “I’ll Back Off So You Can Live Better”, almost like she was the main character straight out of “The Bride With White Hair” movie, looking so mystical and filled with pain, but now I’m seeing a woman who is happy, cheerful and in control of her life. The new EP is spunky, hot, sophisticated, well polished, and vigorously highlighting G.NA’s sex appeal and charisma.
“Top Girl” is a dance/pop number with lots of high energy and obnoxious lyrics. The music video is enriched with colorful settings portraying the fashionable lifestyle of a socialite or “Korea’s Next Top Model.” All G.NA is doing is shopping, looking glamorous in her poses for the paparazzi, and literally singing about being on top. A definite transition from her lonely ballads but its good to see her dancing and enjoying herself once in a while, as oppose to making everyone feel like bawling their eyes out.
G.NA keeps up with the hotness and follows through in the next track. “Banana” is about letting loose and indulging in fun and exciting new things. I like this song more than the lead track and I understand why it was meant to be a follow-up because of the similar concept, but apparently it’s being banned for its “fun” lyrics. I mean what other explanation is there? This is a pop/hip hop track perfect for the clubs so hopefully the people behind it can change up the words enough to satisfy the troublemakers.
I absolutely love “I Hate You”. The song carries a sweet and cheerful tune yet G.NA is singing about her discontentment with the guy for making her sad. It’s a mix between 90’s r&b and modern pop; something relaxing but for the lonely, a strange feeling indeed. The chorus is very catchy but while her voice sounds emotional it’s still rather subtle and reserved. I’m waiting for a big bang but not sure she’ll give in on this record.
This EP wouldn’t be complete without a passionate, power ballad. “Without You” is warm and heartfelt but the singing still sounds as if she’s preserving. However, the song compels you to consume her pain and feel what she’s trying to convey. I love me some Korean ballads and I just can’t resist this song, whether or not it wows.
When “Icon” started playing I had to check to clarify if I was listening to G.NA or IVY because the singer sounded so much like the aforementioned. The track also reminded me of Tiara’s “I Go Crazy” in some parts but not all the way through. This is an electro pop number that gives off a party vibe. And while I like the beat, the vocals sound a bit off and the adlibs sound unrealistic. It’s my least favorite on the record but I can tolerate it regardless.
“Top Girl” is a nice effort but it didn’t blow me away the way her first EP did. I listened to all 6 tracks thinking that G.NA could do better; as if I was expecting more, maybe not a lot more songs being that it is an EP after all, but just more vocally. It wasn’t half bad and the songs are perfect for mainstream but the EP seems lacking in my opinion. Overall, “Top Girl” gets a rating of 4.6/5
01. Top Girl
02. Banana (Feat. Swings, JC지은)
03. 싫어 (I Hate You)
04. Without You
(Purchase this album now on Yesasia)