In honor of Nam Woohyun’s solo debut, it seemed like a good time to look back at the ten best singles released from solos and sub-units of boy group (and personal bias) Infinite. Other than Bigbang and Super Junior, Infinite have most successfully harnessed the power of their individual members through side projects. What makes this technique even more effective is the fact that each solo and sub-unit is markedly different in sound. We have Infinite H for the fun hip hop, Infinite F for anthemic bubblegum pop, leader Sungkyu for rock-influenced indie-pop and main vocal Woohyun for classic Korean balladry. My personal preferences lie more strongly with some genres over others, but every song on this list is an absolute winner in its own way.
10. Infinite H – Pretty (2015)
The poppier side of Infinite H, with a smooth, singalong chorus that focused on their fun, funky persona.
9. Sungkyu – I Need You (2012)
Sungkyu’s most delicate ballad, showcasing his falsetto in a restrained, organic slice of soft rock.
8. Woohyun – Still I Remember (Nod Nod) (2016)
An ephemeral, melancholic ballad that displays Woohyun’s gorgeous voice within a gentle, emotive melody. (full review)
7. Infinite H – Without You (ft. Zion.T) (2013)
The epitome of subtle swag, Hoya and Dongwoo blaze through this spare, icy beat with undeniable charm and charisma. Zion.T’s engaging vocal hook is just icing on the cake.
6. Infinite F – My Heart Is Beating (2014)
Full-blown, saccharine pop that takes full ownership of its cheesy appeal. You may roll your eyes at first, but before long you’ll be humming along to that immense, driving chorus.
5. Toheart – Delicious (2014)
Main vocal Woohyun paired with Shinee’s Key for this light, bubblegum pop duet. Rarely has the sheer force of a member’s personality fueled a track so brilliantly.
4. Sungkyu – Kontrol (2015)
Adopting a more experimental approach, the off-kilter electronics of Kontrol provide a surprisingly effective backdrop for Sungkyu’s passionate vocals. Sparsely melodic, it’s the most idiosyncratic and artistic he’s ever sounded.
3. Sungkyu – The Answer (2015)
Over an endless bed of lilting strings, Sungkyu delivers a classic pop ballad with the expected heft and nuance his impressive vocals are known for. It’s a case of melody trumping all, as the chorus surges and swells to grand effect.
2. Infinite H – Special Girl (ft. Bumkey) (2013)
No title track better displays the potential of Infinite H. Taking the touchpoints of modern hip-hop and wrapping them in a smooth pop styling, the song features the slickest, most indelible hooks of the duo’s career.
1. Sungkyu – 60 Seconds (2012)
Though criticized as “underperforming” upon its release, and not as sonically mature as his 2015 material, 60 Seconds inches them out as my personal favorite solo title track. It’s positioned as the perfect blend of Infinite’s propulsive, melody-driven sound and Sungkyu’s modern rock edge. So good that they re-recorded it in a full-group version, though the original remains the definitive option.