I don’t know that I’ll ever understand the deal with Sungmin and Super Junior. He’s yet to return to the group since his military service, yet releases solo music under their sub-label. I know that the “controversy” surrounding his marriage effectively removed him from group activities, but I’m surprised his career continues to exist in this nebulous, “one foot in, one foot out” territory. Regardless, he’s a brilliant vocalist who excels at ballads and R&B slow burns like new single Goodnight, Summer. I’m glad he’s still releasing music.
After listening to Summer the first time, I immediately checked if SM Entertainment producer extraordinaire Yoo Young-Jin had a co-writing credit. It turns out he had no involvement whatsoever, but the song is dripping with his trademark sound. Sungmin sings in a similarly histrionic manner, bending and embellishing the notes as if he’s chewing on the melody. This approach is often the preferred style of SM vocalists, and I imagine some listeners would find it too over the top. For me, it adds oomph to every bit of Summer, elevating what could have become dull coffeeshop fare in different hands.
Opening with a nostalgic flourish, Goodnight, Summer quickly dives into its rootsy melody. Sungmin sounds great here, and I love the subtle effects added to his voice. The track settles into a satisfying groove, injecting a generous dose of soul. However, Sungmin’s performance is always front and center. He croons the chorus with addictive panache, extending his notes in a showy performance that compliments the swinging instrumental. Backing vocals add extra heft to the climax, though he hardly needs them. His confidence is addicting, and helps Summer stand out from the pack.