The second Girls’ Generation member to launch a solo recording career seems to have her sights set on the Billboard charts instead of M! Countdown.
I Just Wanna Dance sees Stephanie Young Hwang – known professionally by the mononym Tiffany – veering away from the conventional K-pop route, opting for sexy shimmering melodies in place of one-two punch hooks and memorable choruses.
That pursuit of K-pop that’s unapologetically American is evident, if not done in excess, on this seven-track collection. In many instances, I Just Wanna Dance’s sonic DNA bears closer resemblance to the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen and Selena Gomez rather than anything from the record’s home market of South Korea.
The ambitious international flavour could be hold against Tiffany’s Californian roots. Surely, the 26-year-old has a better sense of the global pop scene compared to all her Girls’ Generation members put together.
But while the idea of “Americanised” K-pop is beguiling, the mini album spends the majority of its running time trying to emulate instead of innovate.
At its best, the irrepressible What Do I Do – where Tiffany channels R&B diva vibe over lyrics penned by fellow girl group member Choi Sooyoung – sounds like one of Ariana Grande’s weaker numbers. Its corresponding English version isn’t any better, with clunky lyrics set against the track’s syncopated dance beats.
All’s not lost on the West Coast girl’s declaration of artistic independence, though. The trap influences on the seductive Talk is a perfect example of bedroom banger done right. And the tender 90s rhythm and sing-a-long melodies on Fool is a memorable slice of polished R&B.
But much like its relatively low-key titular track and lead single, I Just Wanna Dance as a whole – despite boasting lofty ideals and solid productions – is too safe for its own good.
I Just Wanna Dance