Of all the Wanna One members, Ha Sungwoon never really caught my attention. Yet, his solo career has gone from strength to strength. He’s proving himself a great pop songwriter with surprising versatility. And, I love the funky route his title tracks have taken. Forbidden Island (그 섬) continues this arc, thriving on a hearty dose of rhythm.
Opening with an atmospheric, finger-snap verse, Sungwoon builds interest with a commanding performance as synths intensify beneath his vocals. This climaxes in an expected beat drop, but it’s a pretty decent one. Traces of rhythm guitar give the slapping beat an extra dose of funk as the chorus unveils itself. Like June’s Get Ready, the melody here feels somewhat obvious. But, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The track may come together in a predictable way, but it’s artfully arranged and packs a punch.
Thankfully, Forbidden Island’s percussive drive continues into its second verse. In this way, the track snowballs as it goes on, ensuring that momentum is never lost. I love the additional drums that crash in during this segment. And though the bridge may slow a bit too much for my taste, this slump is offset by a standout vocal flourish that kicks us into the final chorus with aplomb. Forbidden Island doesn’t set its ambitions particularly high, but it wrings as much excitement from its slinky frame as possible. And for a song released on the same day as a new Taemin single, Island actually feels more Taemin-like than the lumbering Idea!