After a couple of pre-releases, Hangyul and Dohyun (H&D) have officially made their post-X1 debut with the release of Soul. If nothing else, the Produce franchise has reignited interest in duos. It’s a unique and challenging configuration for an idol act, but can work if the two personalities and talents are well-aligned. So far, I think Hangyul and Dohyun compliment each other. Unfortunately, Soul is a bit of a mess – even if it has its high points.
These days, finding a K-pop song whose verses and chorus are equally satisfying is a feat unto itself. Releases can get by on one strong element, but the best tracks bear absolutely no fat at all. Soul is lucky that it has a big, exciting hook at its center because its verses leave a lot to be desired. In fact, it’s difficult to recall much from the track’s opening minute. There’s no meaningful structure to this segment – just loosely phrased bits of melody that have no real connection or purpose. The song’s second verse is even more disappointing, as a half-time trap rap takes precedence. This has become a tried-and-true piece of the K-pop toolkit, and it feels obvious, ugly and unnecessary each and every time.
Now, onto the good stuff. Soul’s rambunctious chorus throws back to classic club music, upping the tempo with throbbing percussion and explosive energy. There’s not much to the melody, but I like the contrast between Hangyul’s husky vocals and Dohyun’s spoken-word interjections. For a brief moment, Soul takes flight and unveils the dancefloor anthem it should have been all the way through. But, it’s hard to fully embrace its high points when they’re surrounded by so much extraneous posturing and formless diversions.
Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!