Last week, Zhoumi pre-released the Chinese version of his stately ballad, Empty Room. With What’s Your Number, he flips that sound completely, opting for a synth-drenched dance track. It’s a break from the ultra-trendy EDM SM has been giving its solo artists of late, hearkening back instead to the carefree pop fellow SJ-M member Henry has released.
This general sound is right up my alley. Built on a crisp, funky instrumental, the track is pure throwback cheese, down to its PYT-esque refrain echoing each line in the chorus. SM pulls off this sound incredibly well, though they’ve done it better in the past. Zhoumi has a lot of fun with the track, but this style isn’t the best-suited for his vocals. It takes a certain kind of charismatic playfulness to really sell a song like this, and Zhoumi doesn’t quite hit the mark. It’s perfectly polished and he sounds incredible, but something feels missing. I wouldn’t blame this on Zhoumi himself; it’s more of a mismatch between artist and song. Like I mentioned before, it would have suited a performer like Henry to a tee.
That said, it’s hard not to be won over by the sheer energy What’s Your Number brings. From that first glorious stab of synth, the track barrels forward with an undeniable sense of fun. It’s a dense bed of instrumentation, incorporating strings and brass for a sound that feels both full and airy. I appreciate that SM is willing to dip their toe back in this poppier style, especially during these summer months. That alone ensures that I’ll be returning to the song often. It’s solid, but doesn’t quite knock it out of the park like it could have.