SM’s assembly line of solo releases continues with the first single from f(x)’s powerhouse vocal Luna. It was probably safe to assume that the song would be a ballad, but luckily the powers-that-be have decided on a high energy dance track instead. SM has had quite a love affair for this specific, early 90’s club sound of late, and Free Somebody fits right in with tracks like View, 4 Walls and White T-Shirt.
But Free Somebody is a more straightforward throwback than any of those tracks, and this is both its strength and weakness. On the plus side, the song boasts a kind of bright pop energy that’s missing from some of SM’s fussier productions. The tempo never lets up, offering touches of rave piano over an agile electronic beat. Luna’s vocals suit this style perfectly, matching the fevered pitch of the instrumentation. The performance isn’t terribly original, sounding at times like a gifted session singer than a true pop star, but then again, the song doesn’t really give her any interesting turns to take. It just keeps pushing forward, unabated in its desire to make you dance. In this way, the song feels truly international, more indebted to a western style than anything found in more traditional kpop.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It certainly makes Free Somebody incredibly palatable. Though we’ve heard this song template a million times over already, there’s comfort in its anthemic pop hook and generic dance beat. Everything is carried off with polish, but an added hint of individuality would have really transformed it into something outstanding. Still, as far as SM solos go, Free Somebody is definitely up there in terms of quality.