With the likes of Zion.T and DEAN relatively quiet this year, it feels like 2018 has been lacking in solo male K-r&b. This leaves a gap in the market for Crush, who’s enjoyed a steady level of success ever since his big breakthrough in 2014. I’ve been pretty hot and cold with his music over the years, especially since this particular genre is not usually to my taste. Whenever I review a new Crush song, I think back to my favorite singles of his, like Hug Me and Oasis. Both stuck to their r&b roots, but impressed with an addictive energy. In contrast, Cereal opts for a more chill sound.
Now, the concept of “chill” and I don’t get along very well. If I wanted to be chill, I’d go lay in a hammock and read a book. When I listen to music, I want to be sucked in. Whether it’s a ballad, a mid-tempo or a dance track, I look for dynamics and energy and emotion. A mellow song like Cereal will never be within my wheelhouse. So Crush fans, please realize that it had an uphill battle from the start!
Enlisting frequent collaborator Zico, Cereal pulses along a smooth r&b groove. Crush’s vocals are as impressive as always, and the first verse hints at more exciting things to come. Unfortunately, the one-note chorus is a major buzzkill. It feels overly repetitive, without enough tonal variation to make its simple structure worth it. Thankfully, Crush and Zico’s interplay results in much more interesting verses. I just wish that the song felt like it was building to something. But I guess that’s the point. Tracks like these never want to sound like they’re trying too hard. Unfortunately, this easygoing approach only ends up underwhelming.