With last years majestic, city pop inspired Pporappippam, Sunmi officially bowled me over with a song that cruised to the top of my favourite K-pop songs of 2020 list and has since then only gotten better and better the more I’ve listened to it. It was a true masterwork, which put much expectation on what her followup effort would be. And after 6 months of waiting, that effort is the noir style Tail, which brings her sound back to the darker, moodier atmosphere of her early work.
Now while I much prefer Sunmi’s more retro fitted sound, she’s equally as potent at this kind of darker dance pop. I may not personally find it as instantly gripping as some of her past work like Heroine or Siren but Tail is polished to perfection. The production is absolutely immaculate, pounding forward on a thumping beat and ominous synth accents. It’s incredibly reminiscent of her excellent debut track 24 Hours, though not as texturally exciting. I love the random inclusions of guitar, whether they be simple plucks or electric guitar samples. They lend an already addictive and interesting soundscape a greater sense of depth, something that I always appreciate in productions. It all assists in a consistent sense of drive, which is only upended by an oddly placed, yet somewhat effective dance break at the bridge. This is one of the few moments where I think that Tail really falters. It’s not a bad breakdown but much like Siren‘s bridge, it stalls much of what the track was building up till then. It recovers quickly though and Sunmi’s always magnetic performance is there to truly elevate Tail at each and every moment.
This is especially noticeable during the chorus, which pulses with an incredible sense of energy carried by Sunmi’s immaculate vocal tone and strong production. The melody for the first half of the chorus is a little predictable but the pulsing instrumentation and Sunmi more than enough make it worthwhile. My favourite moment however is the sticky post chorus hook that follows. It’s easily the most catchy moment of the track, laying Sunmi’s lower register over an ultra sly hook that feels as though it’s kind of building up towards something whilst still feeling like a potent climax. And that’s kind of how I feel of Tail as a whole. It’s another super solid effort from Sunmi but it feels like she’s really building to something truly special in the future.
Final Rating: 8.75 / 10