Oh, Sungwoon fans.
You may as well just save yourself the grief and skip this review altogether. I swear, I’ve got nothing against the guy himself. He cut his teeth as a member of underrated idol group Hotshot, and more than proved himself as a vital part of K-pop sensation Wanna One. But his debut single Bird is pretty much everything I detest about modern Korean r&b.
To be fair, the track’s opening seconds were enough to color my opinion before even hearing the rest of the track. The instrumental employs a now-familiar blend of chirpy (yet simultaneously mopey) synths and trap beats that cast a downbeat (some would say “chill”) aura. It’s the opposite of dynamic. It’s coffeeshop, gussied up with the worst of today’s trends. Seventeen occasionally droop into this template, and it’s always my least favorite part of their songs.
Bird never works itself out of this funk, presenting lackadaisical verses that defy melody in favor of a structure that feels more like a series of disinterested whispers. I can’t feign excitement for a song that barely even asks for it. To me, Bird is the aural equivalent of those final few moments before you fall asleep. You’re drifting in and out, not really paying attention to anything. It’s calming, it’s pleasant. But, you certainly don’t remember it when you wake up the next morning. Sungwoon sounds fine, and his breathy tone is especially appealing when given a layered arrangement. And, fair game if this is the kind of solo music he wants to perform. I know that he had a hand in Bird’s composition. However, I’m afraid I won’t be much of a fan if this is what we can expect from him in the future.