Song Review: Lee Chanhyuk (AKMU) – Panorama

Lee Chanhyuk (AKMU) - PanoramaConcepts are a dime a dozen in K-pop. They’re part of the idol equation, but rarely do we hear an actual concept album. AKMU’s Lee Chanhyuk makes his solo debut with a full-length that takes us through death and rebirth. As part of this “new” Chanhyuk, the music brings in flourishes of 80’s synthpop – a genre never fully explored in AKMU’s work. Lead single Panorama (파노라마) is a good introduction to this new sound, even if I wish it had a bit more oomph.

I lost at the expectations game again. For whatever reason, Panorama’s teasers made me think we were getting a big synth banger. Instead, the song is a melodic mid-tempo – much like many AKMU songs – with synth as its driving force. It’s my own fault for making assumptions, and I needed to rewire my brain the first time I played the song. For what it is, Panorama is quite good. Chanhyuk has always been a master of melody, and the strength of his songwriting hits from the first listen.

I love Panorama’s use of retro synths. They’re thick and chunky and have an analog feel missing from so many other 80’s-leaning efforts. Their presence here is invaluable, especially during the chorus. But, I would’ve preferred a brisk tempo to go along with these tones. Panorama constantly feels like it’s ready to kick into gear and develop a knockout punch, but never goes there. Instead, it acts as a statement of intent for the album. I hope this isn’t a one-off, because Chanhyuk could work wonders with this style in the future.

Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8

Grade: B


7 thoughts on “Song Review: Lee Chanhyuk (AKMU) – Panorama

  1. This song isn’t anything special, but along with the me it made me feel something I can’t quite describe……
    After I listened to/watched it for the first time I just sat there completely dumbfounded for a good few minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Is everyone so depressed and stressed that they must really listen to soft Lofi shit all the time? This here sounds mid-tempo understated 80’s like Level 42.
    I mention this particular band because I spent an entire birthday gift card on Level 42 back when and have regretted ever since. $15 on one CD, dammit, back then.

    I don’t know about you but I would rather pick up my spirits with something much more driving, like a SHINee festival of Lucifer – Dream Girl – Why So Serious – Sherlock, and repeat. Tonight, SHINee’s in the house, give it up give it up for Shi nay!

    This song here today is an easy pass for me. Maybe I’ll dig out that crappy Level 42 cd instead.

    I will admit I do not usually watch the MVs, so I shall now based upon the recommendations above.


  3. Chanhyuk’s voice is a real treat, and I love how he delivers the feeling of additional drama to the song with it. As for the rest of the track, meh. It feels airy and the melodies are forgettable and go-nowhere. As a result, Panorama kinda fades away into the air. 7.75 for me (7,9,7,8).


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