Song Review: Ha Sungwoon – Sneakers

Ha Sungwoon - SneakersDespite selling well, Ha Sungwoon’s comebacks never seem to garner all that much attention or discussion. But he’s been remarkably consistent, releasing a string of very strong singles. New track Sneakers (스니커즈) follows suit, harnessing a bright, optimistic melody perfectly suited for summer while managing to filter many of his influences into one consistent song.

Sungwoon’s airy vocal is right at home within this style of light, buoyant pop. Right from the start, Sneakers unveils an atmospheric sound. A soft bed of synths underpins a laidback rhythm, crafting a soundscape that’s relaxing but not boring. This climaxes in a standout chorus, which bounds along a punchy, synth-fueled frame. I love the melody here. Despite its descending structure, the refrain feels like an escalation – open and cathartic.

As great as this chorus is, what’s up with the frantic percussion underneath its second half? It’s like someone accidentally left a drum loop playing in the background and sped it to a level where it becomes continuous noise. This percussion feels incongruous with the rest of the instrumental, and should have been replaced with something less heavy-handed. Even so, Sneakers gets by on its unflagging sense of positivity. It’s an incredibly amiable track, made even more so by Sungwoon’s refreshing performance. It plays like a fizzy headrush, egged on by swoops of backing vocals and bouncy electronics. Score another point for Ha Sungwoon, who has quietly developed one of the most enduring post-Wanna One solo careers.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75


12 thoughts on “Song Review: Ha Sungwoon – Sneakers

  1. Okay, saved by the chorus. This song has an incredibly dynamic and fun chorus. That first verse though is incredibly slow, albeit with a good melody. Just pretty great.

    But now that you mention it, I can’t stop hearing it ANYMORE. Sad, was enjoying this too. You could literally cut that drum loop out and improved this song tenfold.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. That synth heavy sound always suits his airy vocals so well. The song is incredibly atmospheric. It is all very amiable. I hadn’t been bothered much by that drum loop but now that you mention it…

    The opening track of the album, On and On is just so optimistic and so upbeat and sorta makes you feel all sorts of happiness. Plus, a few tracks, including the title feels picked out from an imaginary txt album from another universe released last week, but that’s not a bad thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The first verse sounded like Jimin covering a Seventeen song.

    It settles into a nice groove. And then with the chorus and the post-chorus it goes to nice and sonically interesting places, almost unexpected but not too outre. I have a few Ha SungWoo songs, and this will complement them nicely.

    Is it me or is it a noisy song, particularly, right smack in the middle of the spectrum. It will probably be OK in the car, but on my best earbuds I have had to lower the volume a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Somewhat unexpectedly, this was my favourite of the releases today (though Moonshot comes very close as well and Don’t Fight The Feeling is fairly groovy). I have a vague idea about Sungwoon’s post-Wanna One career, but I haven’t really paid much attention to him before – so this came as a pleasant surprise. I really like that underlying sense of optimism in this song, and that chorus is a lot of fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. From the slow start I wasn’t really expecting to like it, but it completely pulled me in with that chorus. This reminds me a little bit of 2010’s music for some reason – the layered vocals and the synths bring me back to Owl City.

    His voice is really nice, too! Works very well with the style of the song.
    Moment of reflection: is it me, or is kpop really coming back to life this year? There’s been a lot of groovy, upbeat and positive-vibe songs lately. I love it.

    Liked by 3 people

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