There seems to be a lot of groundswell support for DEAN lately, and up to this point I haven’t really understood it. And while I don’t think I’ll ever be a gigantic fan due to the type of music I tend to gravitate towards, D (Half Moon) is definitely my favorite song I’ve heard from him so far, and goes a long way in demonstrating his appeal.
DEAN falls squarely into the group of young, r&b influenced singer songwriters currently finding great success as an alternative to the glossier, more commercialized kpop Korea has become known for. But while I didn’t think his past work veered enough into this territory, Half Moon boasts an inventive, incredibly soulful melody that keeps the track fresh and engaging throughout its entire running time. Rather than taking a subdued route, both the verses and chorus are a winding display of push and pull. The peaks and valleys arrive organically, giving the song an almost freestyle vibe.
As a fan of more structured pop songwriting, usually I’d have a problem with a track that’s so all over the place, but Half Moon manages that tricky balance of jazzy free form and tight, calculated hooks. Plus, DEAN sounds better here than I’ve ever heard him, effectively squeezing emotion from every possible note. This is all over an airy, trip hop beat that gives the track a certain coffeehouse appeal. In fact, it feels like a nice pairing to Zico’s solo track from earlier this year. I’m not sure that Gaeko’s rap adds much beyond name recognition, but otherwise the song is (for me) a pleasant surprise.