When JYJ’s Jin Longguo unveiled his first pre-release as a solo artist last June, I figured that its downbeat r&b was simply a stepping stone to more intriguing sounds. After all, pre-releases are often less ear-catching than fully promoted title tracks. But Friday n Night continues down a similar route, embracing an understated style that feels more suited to an indie artist than an idol.
More power to Longguo for sticking to his guns. He’s listed as a lyricist here, so I’ve got to assume this is the kind of music he wants to be making. But anyone familiar with The Bias List will know that acoustic ballads aren’t often my thing.
However, I’m also a child/teen of the 90’s, and the combination of Friday n Night’s restrained instrumental and emotive melody reminds me of that decade’s infatuation with the singer-songwriter. It’s a simple arrangement, with a gorgeous string-section that helps to tease out the melancholic sentiment. Longguo’s tone feels better matched to this acoustic style than the more straightforward r&b of Clover, and he wrings as much from the performance as he can. Several bursts of falsetto add to the track’s unguarded tone, as the melody gradually builds to a climactic key change. This isn’t the kind of bombastic K-pop most are used to, but there’s a comfort in its restraint that feels well-suited to this time of year, as the days begin to grow shorter and the temperature starts to dip.