Since returning from their military enlistment, Super Junior’s Donghae and Eunhyuk have released a steady stream of music in Japan, culminating in their recently unveiled album Style. But, it’s been over three years since the duo was last active in Korea. The shadow of 2015’s Growing Pains looms large over their music, standing as a moody high point in an otherwise fun-loving discography. New single ’Bout You (머리부터 발끝까지) is anything but moody, casting the duo in trendy musical tones that don’t go down well.
Like Winner’s awful Everyday, ’Bout You is a total misstep from an act I usually admire. This is surprising, since the track was co-written by Donghae himself, who has proven his weight as a songwriter several times over. But with ’Bout You, he retreats to tired trends that dilute the duo’s star power with an overuse of autotune and a continually lazy melody.
‘Bout You’s tropical undertones would be forgivable if the song wasn’t so lightweight. Its verses are a muddled mess, casting off melodic lines that fizzle as soon as they’re delivered. It feels as if every bit of melody ends in roughly the same note, rendering the song flat. It doesn’t help that the chorus is equally throwaway, marrying Korean-language clichés to a barely formed hook. ‘Bout You briefly comes to life during its final moments, when the guys’ vocals are layered and the song finally feels as if it’s committing to something. But, it’s too little, too late. After three years of waiting, it’s hard to see this as anything but a disappointment.