Review

Song Review: AleXa – Never Let You Go

Thus far, AleXa has made her name on high-octane dance tracks, designed primarily to showcase her choreography and concept. It’s somewhat surprising, then, that she’s returned with a stripped-down ballad. Of course, it is the winter season, and January has a history of being very ballad-heavy when it comes to K-pop. I imagine that AleXa’s management is eager to sidestep any ‘one-trick pony’ labels, and have dubbed this sentimental version of AleXa “AleXa H.” Okay, then.

When it comes to ballads, it takes something very special to catch my attention. There’s nothing better than a fantastic pop ballad, but too often I find myself eager to move past the sentiment and get to the fun, up-tempo stuff. With this in mind, Never Let You Go (오랜만이야) is unlikely to stop me in my tracks. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad song. And, AleXa (H!) goes a long way toward selling it, even if her performance feels a little restrained.

The melody is soft and inviting throughout, coasting along expected tropes but hitting its mark more often than not. Similarly, the piano and strings-laden instrumental hits a familiar note. If you’ve heard any mainstream pop ballad of the past thirty years, you’ve basically heard Never Let You Go already. There’s some comfort to that, but without one defining moment, the song threatens to fade into the background. Yet, Never Let You Go achieves its aim. It casts AleXa as a more versatile pop star than first thought. Now, she just needs to find more memorable material.

 Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25

2 thoughts on “Song Review: AleXa – Never Let You Go

  1. The song is the not unexpected turn to a ballad to show her “artistry”. This happens with solo artists all the time. Start big with hype dance tracks, then strategically go soft and vulnerable. Her delivery is pleasing enough, and I am sure her fans will love it and gush. Fine by me.

    If this was a song for the west, they would have popped a power note in there around 3:30-3:40, and it gets close but then pulls back.

    That said, my humble opinion
    I was surprised to hear Alexa’s voice unfiltered and without all the dance oomph going on. And then equally surprised that she suffers from the “below middle C” problem endemic with a lot of the kpop soprano vocalists. I don’t think this is a case of making it breathy to sound atmospheric and moody, which happens often in kballads. I just don’t think she can really hit the “low notes”. The notes are sharp each and every time, like 0:32 and 1:57 (and somehow not pitch corrected). “Low notes” here being only in the G-G#-A range, which should be easily hittable for a soprano.
    OK I am done.

    Like

  2. The song really progresses beautifully and her vocals are so easy to listen to. Moreover, I like the song paired with the music video the most. It adds even more emotion to the ballad.

    Now, I’m not a huge ballad listener- so sadly I won’t be listening to this a lot. Just not dynamic enough for me to be invested in. But I think she did a wonderful job.

    Like

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