Song Review: Hwang Minhyun – Hidden Side

Hwang Minhyun - Hidden SideThough Hwang Minhyun has released solo music while with Nu’est, Hidden Side acts as his official solo debut. He’s also busy as the host (erm… I mean, “star master”) of the currently-airing Boys Planet. His history with Nu’est and Wanna One gives him plenty of industry cache, but I can’t say I immediately picture him as a soloist. What musical ambition fuels his career?

Judging by Hidden Side, there will be no boundaries pushed as part of this solo era. The song is fine in the way most K-pop is “fine” nowadays. Its muted synth beat is vaguely groovy but never brisk enough to kick up real energy. Instead, the focus shifts to atmospheric sounds before we swerve into the beat-drop assisted chorus. It’s all pulled off with polish, but nothing here is remotely surprising. The melodies – such as they are – mainly trace the lines of the instrumental and conform to the industry’s beloved sing-talk delivery. Apart from the chorus, I can’t remember a single moment once the song has finished playing.

Thus far, none of the post-Nu’est solo efforts have done anything to establish the members in their own right. This is weird, because the solo tracks on Nu’est albums were often highlights of the past few years. Instead, the members have opted for low-hanging fruit: vibe-heavy tracks that lack character and ambition. It’s a shame, but their existing popularity (and connection with the all-powerful HYBE empire) likely guarantees success regardless of what they release.

Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7

Grade: C


7 thoughts on “Song Review: Hwang Minhyun – Hidden Side

  1. I’m probably a bit more harsh, so instead of “fine” I’ll use a different f-word: forgettable.

    The chorus is kind of groovy, though. I could vibe to this, but it’s not strong enough to make it to my playlist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Funny, I was thinking “fine”, and uninspiring since I can’t be bothered to think of an alt pleasant word. It’s alright. *sigh*


  3. I don’t know anything about the singer or the concept, but I came across this in the Kpop reddit this morning and quite like it. Nick, guessing it’s probably not your thing though. What I’m drawn to is the bg chorus vocals that threaten to overwhelm the tune, à la 10cc’s I’m Not in Love. It’s nice to hear something somewhat different.


  4. sigh it’s especially disappointing to me because i was highly anticipating his debut as a fan, not from nu’est though from wanna one, that’s when i was hooked to his voice. it’s funny because i was never a fan of nu’est nothing in their discography interested me and minhyun’s solo debut just sounds like a song that could be sung by nu’est which is not my thing. i have a more favorable review because i still enjoyed it and i loved the concept, (i liked the highlight medley the most) but i just wanted more. minhyun has potential and i wish later releases can show us more of it.


  5. Made it up to the second verse, then got bored and turned the song off. Can’t just the industry focus more on the identity of artists rather than endlessly reminiscing the most dull, forgettable shit?…


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