Heechul and Jungmo’s M&D project was one of 2015’s best surprises — a j-rock inspired passion project filled with gorgeous melodies and theatrical delivery. For this week’s Station release, the two revisit that sound, with the added bonus of Mamamoo’s Whee In as a duet vocalist.
Sadly, I’m not sure that it works as well this time around. From the start, the pairing of Heechul and Whee In seems misguided. On paper it looks great. Mamamoo is so hot right now and Whee In can seemingly sing anything, but the vocal styles just don’t complement each other. Heechul’s fully entrenched in his anime-theme-song persona, which works wonders for a rock ballad like this. Meanwhile, Whee In sings in her usual, more r&b-influenced style and just isn’t given much to do here. She ends up acting more as a support than a true duet partner, and together the two sound at odds — like a pair of really great dishes that are delicious on their own, but you’d never want to eat together.
There were some jaw-droppingly great ballads on the M&D mini album (Silhouette or Moon Crystal, anyone?), but Narcissus feels very much like a b-side. It lacks the melodic punch I’d expect from Heechul and Jungmo. Sure, it builds and builds as more guitars join the mix, but doesn’t really end up going anywhere. It’s almost as if it’s missing a verse somewhere — something to give it the structural and musical variety it needs to stay interesting. I realize that this is a lot of complaining, but it’s only because I have high hopes for this particular sub unit. The pedigree of those involved ensures that the song’s not a total waste. It just should have been so much better.