For as often as Super Junior’s Kim Heechul is on TV, it’s easy to forget that he first made his name as a singer. His solo work has always been rooted in classic rock to some extent, and he definitely has the voice for it. His sub-unit duo M&D produced some inspired music, drawing on his commanding tone for a sense of grandiose theatricality. If Heechul’s going to perform a ballad, you better believe it will have all the bells and whistles.
Luckily, this is exactly the kind of ballad I prefer. Old Movie (옛날사람) isn’t all that different from many of SM Entertainment’s digital releases. It would likely feel underwhelming as a full-fledged title track, but it brings the drama in its own way. The instrumental is full-to-bursting with a constant swell of strings and over-the-top guitar solos. You can practically envision the anime series this would soundtrack.
Melodically, Old Movie hits all the expected notes, offering a gradual climb towards its go-for-broke climax. The chorus is easy to sing along with and cathartic in its chest-beating grandeur. Its bombast gives Heechul the chance to belt a few standout power notes, though its overall effect doesn’t linger long after the song is over. He’s given us stickier hooks before, even in his slower material. All you need to do is listen to M&D’s 2015 Moon Crystal to hear that. Even so, Old Movie is a welcome return for a voice that hasn’t had nearly enough spotlight the past few years. Give this man his own movie musical, Korea, and make sure you bring the entire symphony orchestra with you.