Another day, another post-Wanna One debut. And like so many of these solo tracks, Bae Jinyoung’s Hard to Say Goodbye (끝을 받아들이기가 어려워) is a ballad. This fact alone makes it difficult to drum up any interest, as you essentially know what you’re going to get before the song even starts. Jinyoung never felt like a huge vocal presence in Wanna One, especially when competing with bigger voices in the group. So at the very least, I guess it’s nice to hear his tone a little more clearly in this unadorned tearjerker.
Though he might not be the bombastic belter that usually performs these kind of songs, I actually quite like the sound of Jinyoung’s voice. It’s slightly deeper and huskier than many of his counterparts, at times recalling V from BTS. What he lacks in oomph, he makes up for with sentimentality — a vital component to these kind of swelling ballads.
Unfortunately, when it comes down to it Hard to Say Goodbye is still a by-the-numbers pop ballad. It never really builds to anything memorable, even if it does a good job conveying its gloomy mood. The production is delicate throughout, driven by an all-too-familiar mix of piano and strings. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? The problem is, all of these tracks end up blending together. So far, no agency has shown an ounce of creativity when it comes to their returning Wanna One artists. We’ll see what happens when Jinyoung debuts with his upcoming group, but for now there’s not a lot to feel excited about.