Since returning from the military, Super Junior’s Kyuhyun has released a solo single album and new work with his group and sub-unit K.R.Y. SM Entertainment’s SJ Label has allowed for greater flexibility when it comes to release schedules, resulting in several digital singles free from the promotional machine that usually accompanies idol music. This matches well with Kyuhyun’s status as an elder statesman in K-pop, and allows him to share material like Dreaming without the expectations that come along with full comeback preparation.
Dreaming is as upbeat as we’ve heard Kyuhyun in a while, forgoing the dramatic ballad arrangements of most of his solo work for a more driving, inspirational sound. This is the song that would soundtrack those big, triumphant moments in a reality TV show – uplifting but not musically demanding.
As Dreaming enters its first verse, I was immediately reminded of Roy Kim’s more upbeat material. Though Kyuhyun has a different tone, the richness of his voice carries similar gravity. This lends Dreaming a certain amount of aplomb, even if the actual song is pretty by-the-numbers. In this way, Dreaming also reminds me of Jeong Eunji’s AWay from last week. It’s untrendy, adult contemporary fare, channeled by a killer vocalist. Whether that appeals to you or not will depend on a number of factors, but I enjoy hearing Kyuhyun tackle a more soaring arrangement. His vocals are especially effective as Dreaming hits its climax and forges a sound similar to popera. If I had my way, both the performance and production would have a bit more bite to it, but Dreaming knows exactly what it wants to be and sticks to its sentimental guns.
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