It feels like Eric Nam has become the unofficial entertainment ambassador between Korean artists and the western world. He’s one of those personalities that’s impossible to dislike and seems to be friends with everyone, which makes him the ideal host for shows like After School Club. But the problem with playing Mr. Nice Guy is that it doesn’t give you many interesting places to go within a music career. It’s kind of like if Ryan Seacrest were to put out an album. Edgy isn’t an option, and anything else is just going to run the risk of seeming lightweight.
Such is the case with Good For You. As a mid-tempo pop/r&b ballad there’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, stacked against Nam’s other tracks of this genre, its gentle, vacillating melody is a standout. But while it’s a nice piece of comfort food, there’s nothing surprising or particularly interesting going on. There’s no indication of what Nam’s musical persona is. You get the feel that the track could have been recorded by any talented session singer and have a similar, pleasant effect. That’s not to say that Nam’s airy vocals don’t fit the sweet romanticism of the song to a tee. It’s just… is it too much to ask for a little more oomph?
I’m actually surprised that, given his bright personality, Nam has traded mostly in slower singles. For me, 2014’s uptempo Ooh Ooh was a total standout, and acted as a perfect vehicle for the goofy charisma he often brings on variety shows. A bit more of that would go a long way. The title track of his new mini album is a chief example. It’s no dancefloor filler, but the added playfulness gives the song added personality. More of that, and I think his music career could easily match his success in variety.