On paper, the combination of Yesung and Chungha seems like an odd one. You’ve got a member of Super Junior’s vocal line, and a soloist most strongly known for her dancing. Rather than draw on either of these strengths, Whatcha Doin’ splits the difference and winds up as a pleasant but forgettable affair.
This isn’t Chungha’s first foray into SM-sponsored team-ups. She was part of an all-killer, no-filler quartet of female performers back in September for the Station track Wow Thing. That song’s bombastic production and buckets full of attitude really harnessed her charisma. Whatcha Doin’ doesn’t allow much personality to show through, but it does see her singing in a more comfortable register than much of her solo work. She sounds fantastic throughout, vibing effortlessly with the song’s groovy, mid-tempo beat.
Yesung fares equally well, delivering a versatile performance that moves from subdued to powerful. His husky tone is a great fit for this kind of throwback r&b style, and contrasts well with Chungha’s brighter vocal. This is especially evident from the bridge on, when the two voices really come together for some gorgeous harmonies. I just wish the song itself was more memorable. Its silky production hearkens back to the 90’s in the best way, but never pushes in any interesting directions. It’s a solid, head-nodding arrangement that feels like something you might play in the background during a party. With that criteria in mind, I suppose Whatcha Doin’ succeeds. But, I doubt I’ll remember it this time next year — despite the appealing performance by its star-studded duo.