2PM‘s Jun. K, along with many of the group’s other members, will be leaving us for the military soon. But before he goes, he’s released a special album to tide fans over. It feels weirdly wrong to critique this type of release, but before you write me off as some Jun. K music hater, know that I’ve enjoyed quite a bit of his output in the past. It seems like every time I write about him, I mention my utter adoration of Japanese single Love & Hate.
No Shadow builds on the dark, future bass, tempo-shifting nature of his 2016 single, Think About You. This time around, the sound is more dramatic and diverse, with the claustrophobic production of the verses ballooning into a weightier chorus. But when it comes down to it, No Shadow is all about the specific mood it paints. For many, this will be a huge plus, as the track fully encompasses that sense of lonely desperation. But it feels like this is at the expense of the song. In some ways, the bulk of No Shadow plays like an extended, improvised performance piece.
Though the chorus throws down a simple, melodic hook and packs it with emotion, it would have been even more potent had it been anchored by stronger verses. Each verse feels like a series of riffs, pulling and pushing in different directions to capture the nuances within Shadow‘s core emotion. I can appreciate this in theory, but the end result feels oddly cold. I’m of the belief that a vocal riff or diversion is most potent when springing from an otherwise structured verse. When a song’s verses veer towards the freeform, it starts to feel more indulgent than intriguing. Still, No Shadow does a great job focusing on the very emotion many of Jun. K’s hardcore fans are probably feeling right now. And in the end, that’s probably more than enough until we hear from him again in a couple of years.