Though he got his start as a member of SMent sub-unit Super Junior M, Henry has become more widely known for his appearances in variety, dramas and as a solo artist. Lately, he’s seemed to take more creative control over his output, delivering a series of digital tracks that have helped to remind listeners that he is a musician at the core. While I’m sure this feels much more rewarding that recording material from outside composers, I can’t help but miss the poppier style of his past.
Sometimes it feels like I’m the only k-pop fan who enjoyed cheesy/dramatic tracks like 2014’s Fantastic (please tell me I’m wrong). But even if that bombastic style caused you to roll your eyes, it’s hard to deny its success in channeling Henry’s engaging (some might say hyperactive) persona. I’m Good (끌리는 대로), on the other hand, feels like his attempt to be the next Crush or DEAN. He mostly pulls off the shift in style, but at the expense of showcasing a unique sound. I’m Good‘s murmured delivery conforms to the hazy, too-cool-for-school vocal style favored by so many current international male acts. The general tone is murky, moving at a languid pace that feels like an anti-party party track.
This approach contrasts the brightness we’re used to hearing from Henry, and is initially quite jarring. It’s as if he’s trying on another artist’s clothes. They fit well enough, but are just a bit baggy in some places and tight in others. And though the final result is more chill than galvanizing, the darker soundscape does pulls a newly-found texture from Henry’s tone that hints at greater things to come. It’s an interesting sidestep, but won’t keep me from jamming to Trap and Fantastic for the umpteenth time.
Don’t worry, Fantastic was always one of the best Kpop tracks to come out of 2014, even if the intro makes me cringe every time. Both that and Trap make me wonder whistfully what would happen if other artists’ classical music talents where capitalized upon in their own solo tracks. For example, Ryeowook is both a great singer and a GREAT pianist – there HAS to be an amazing pop song that could come out of that combo
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