Yena returns with 'Hate XX', featuring her best friend, (G)I-DLE's Yuqi


K-pop singer Yena poses for pictures during a press showcase event for her second single, 'Hate XX', held in Seoul on Tuesday. — Photo: Yue Hua Entertainment

K-pop singer Yena released new single Hate XX on Tuesday, returning after five months following the release of her first single, Love War, in January.

"There are three songs, and I expressed various emotions in my unique cheerful energy," Yena, going by her real name Choi Yena in Korean, said during a press conference held on the same day as the release.

The single's main song is Hate Rodrigo, a dance tune that sings of the cute jealousy toward someone she looks up to and respects.

Adding to the song's vibrant energy is her collaboration with her best friend, Yuqi of girl group (G)I-DLE. According to Yena, the collaboration has been long sought by the fans of the two artists because of their resemblance to each other.

"We'd each heard from our fans that we look alike. We finally came to speak with each other at the idol sports championship, and we really clicked. We became close after that and realised we also had similarities in music and style," Yena said.

Pop Time, the composer who was credited on (G)I-DLE's latest song Queencard, also took part in writing Hate Rodrigo, connecting the two singers for the collaboration, Yena explained.

Not only do they wear similar looks in the music video, but the choreography also includes mirror moves, Yena said, hinting at a joint performance with Yuqi in the future.

Yena took part in writing the lyrics of Hate Rodrigo, just as with her latest releases Love War and Wash Away.

"It's my song so I think it needs to convey my opinions and thoughts. Even if I don't do well, I need to continue trying. And I think I'm actually getting better. Hopefully, when these small improvements pile up, I could become like Olivia Rodrigo some time," she said, referring to the popular American singer-songwriter who was an inspiration for her latest song.

The new single also includes two side tracks Bad Hobby, which draws a crescendo of anger towards a cheating lover, and Wicked Love, a rock-infused modern pop through which she shows her hidden style behind her smiling face.

Yena teamed up with star K-pop choreographer Choi Young-joon for Wicked Love and released the song's music video on Friday.

"I haven't shown my dancing properly since my solo debut and I wanted to do it with this song," she said, adding, "please look forward to my performance of the song later."

Yena began her K-pop career as a member of project girl group Iz*One in October 2018 and debuted solo in January 2022 with her first EP Smiley.

She has tirelessly worked since, dropping another album and a single in just a year's time. The 23-year-old singer says confidence is what inspires and drives her to continue.

"I try to love myself. I'm not afraid of taking up new styles," she said, adding, "I also work hard to keep up with what's new and present myself in novice ways."

Yena hopes that people recognise her style with Hate Rodrigo.

"It's an upbeat and energetic genre which I'm the best at, and I hope I could carve my name into people's minds with my performance."

Following her comeback in Korea with Hate XX on Tuesday, the singer is set to make her solo debut in Japan soon. – By Choi Ji-won/The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

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K-pop , Yena , (G)I-dle


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