VIXX sub-unit LR debuted two years ago with the melancholic Beautiful Liar, which suited Leo and Ravi well even if it wasn’t exactly the late-summer anthem many of us may have been craving. VIXX’s music is occasionally criticized for taking itself too seriously, opting for dark, theatrical concepts rather than a more accessible sound. And though I haven’t exactly been a huge fan of their output over the past year or so, I appreciate that they strive to stand out from the pack.
Whisper is self-composed, with the help of new producer Yuth, and opts for a more dance-oriented style than LR’s previous work. It’s a testament to what a fantastic instrumental can do for a song. While Whisper‘s simple hook may not be anything to write home about, its rhythm guitar and bass driven beat is very successful. The production paints the kind of mysterious atmosphere we’re used to from VIXX, but never goes too dark. The synth-drenched climax is especially impressive, as filters envelope the beat with a wind tunnel effect that becomes more prominent when listened to on headphones.
While the instrumental keeps things chugging along, I wish Whisper‘s arrangement opened things up more fully. The first chorus is a bit of a dud, pulling back for a slinky, minimalist delivery rather than exploding into prominence. Thankfully, this is improved upon with each repetition as more elements join the fray. Still, Whisper‘s strongest moments are its verses. This surprised me, since I’m not usually a fan of Ravi’s over-the-top rap style. But he really digs in here, tackling the nimble beat with an addictive charisma that feels authentic and engaging.