Song Review: Ha Sungwoon – Forbidden Island

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!

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8


4 thoughts on “Song Review: Ha Sungwoon – Forbidden Island

  1. So many songs sound more Taemin like than Taemin’s “Idea”.

    This song does not have much that is original to it, but it builds upon previous work to something that is satisfying and well performed. That funky bass line links this song in sound with his “Get Ready” from early summer. This song is also a grower upon repeat listens.

    Regular readers know I am not one usually for interpretive dance that sacrifices vocals over movement much at all. But I did enjoy watching the showcase this morning, despite the complete lack of live vocal. There were a few interesting partnered positions to the dance, more than the individual hi energy hip hop with elaborate port de bras that is typical of kpop these days. ‘

    (As an aside, what magic symbols and codes does one use to get a clickable youtube link without the preview in the comment section.)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You had me at ‘funky’ ! It takes a little bit too long to get to the funky parts though. I would so much prefer to have that beat under the verses, too.


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