A Xia Junsu comeback is always cause for celebration. No matter what genre he tackles, Junsu’s captivating presence and commanding vocals demand attention. Last we heard from him, he indulged his dance pop side with 2020’s excellent Pit A Pat. With new single Hana (하나), he’s embraced “tropical” moombahton sounds – despite that genre no longer being at the forefront of K-pop trends.
Here’s the thing, though. A good song is a good song, whether or not it tackles a sound that happens to be popular at the moment. We saw this with Golden Child’s fantastic Burn It last year, which tethered a reggaeton beat to transcendent melodies. I’m not sure Hana enjoys the same strength of songwriting, but Junsu’s ear-catching performance certainly elevates it.
While Hana circles around an overdone beat-drop style chorus, its verses and pre-chorus bring the heat in ways that make this a standout. Junsu absolutely attacks the song – especially during verse two when his performance really heats up. But, my favorite segment in Hana is that dynamic pre-chorus, which allows his vocals to take center stage and set up the ensuing beat drop with flair. Hana’s bridge is similarly immense. I grew tired of this tropical sound when it became oversaturated in K-pop, but I love the fullness of this instrumental. Hana delivers a rush of energy, leapfrogging over its shortcomings by going for the jugular every chance it gets. Had the chorus not pulled back so much, we could have had a real classic on our hands.