It’s amazing how quickly military enlistment changes a group’s standing in K-pop. At the height of their fame, Beast were one of the premiere idol groups, and that success continued even after they re-formed as Highlight. But with most of the members now serving in the military, it feels like their heyday was ages ago. As the first member to be discharged, leader Yoon Dujun is here to help fill that gap with his very first solo album.
It’s hard to believe that Dujun never released his own album in the eleven years of Beast and Highlight activities. He’s been more active in dramas and variety, which more closely suits his talents. Though he’s a vital part of Highlight, his vocal tone isn’t as distinct as many of his fellow members’. Perhaps this is why Lonely Night feels so subdued. It’s fueled more by mood than musical personality, embracing some of K-pop’s retro trends while remaining the kind of unfussy r&b mid-tempo that would often appear on old Beast albums.
I like Lonely Night’s beat, which reminds me of trip hop in its shuffling structure. There’s also some great atmospheric synth vocal effects, which give the track a soulful, dreamlike appeal. But when it comes to the song itself, there’s not a lot here. The verses are more interesting than the repetitive chorus, though their loose format doesn’t offer much to grab on to. There are a few moments when the rhythm revs up and Dujun’s phrasing becomes funkier. I just wish these bursts came together to forge a more memorable whole. Lonely Night is pleasant, but doesn’t leave much of an impression once the track has finished.
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