I can’t believe it’s been over a year since Jeong Sewoon’s last comeback! He’s been a reliable purveyor of gentle – often upbeat – pop music since his 2017 debut. He’s also the latest in a long string of Starship Entertainment acts to promote this year. Seriously, that agency has their act together. In the space of weeks, we’ve had comebacks from CRAVITY, IVE, Monsta X and now Jeong Sewoon – all while WJSN is getting backing for Queendom.
In this flurry of activity, a song as gentle as Roller Coaster is likely to fall by the wayside. For me, Sewoon’s material is at its best when he beefs up the arrangement and delivers something quite striking. Roller Coaster is much more subdued, following K-pop’s trend of easy, breezy city pop-inspired instrumentals. I’d call this more jazz (or even lounge?) than city pop, but the vibes are definitely similar. It’s a good match for Sewoon’s engaging vocals, but the track needs stronger melodies to truly stick.
In fact, Roller Coaster’s best moments don’t involve Sewoon at all! The brassy flourishes that cap off each chorus inject needed life to the production, pointing toward a bigger sound that’s followed by a more aggressive second verse. I also like the choir-like arrangement during the bridge. I just wish it had been tethered to a more memorable song. Too often, Roller Coaster threatens to become musical wallpaper – an idea at odds with its exciting, carnival-esque title.