This may be a controversial opinion, but by focusing solely on solos and sub-units these past four months, it feels like SM Entertainment has kind of thrown away a third of the year. This isn’t to say that solos and sub-units are unwelcome, but most of the ones we’ve gotten from the agency in 2019 have kind of blended together without making much impact. Where are your groups, SM? When it comes to your next generation of talent, how are you keeping the momentum going?
I realize that this complaint has little to do with Chanyeol’s solo track SSFW (봄 여름 가을 겨울) — at least when it comes to the song itself. But arriving right on the heals of solo work from Chen and Heechul and Taeyeon, its very existence starts to lose a little luster. The effects of this monotonous release cycle are a shame, because SSFW gives Chanyeol a rare opportunity to display his skills as a vocalist.
SSFW’s hazy opening immediately recalls another SM solo: Amber’s underrated Need To Feel Needed from 2016. The two songs share a casual, beach-ready vibe, driven by feather light harmonies and ambient synths. This is a fitting aesthetic for Chanyeol’s resonant tone. What the song lacks in instrumental fireworks, it makes up for in vibe. The melody twists and bends in a laid-back, meandering fashion that matches Chanyeol’s public persona and has all the hallmarks of a solid singer-songwriter effort without being hopelessly dull. It may not be quite what I’m looking for when it comes to K-pop, but there’s nothing wrong with a pleasant, cool-down track right as spring starts to heat up.
- On another note, why are all these SM artists suddenly singing about seasons?