Song Review: Lee Gikwang (Highlight) – Predator

Lee Gikwang (Highlight) - PredatorIt’s been a while since we’ve heard from Highlight’s Gikwang. For me, his solo career has been a mixed bag with strong title tracks and so-so albums. 2019’s Don’t Close Your Eyes (D.C.Y.E) is a personal favorite, but new single Predator gives it a run for its money.

Gikwang has found his sweet spot in this groovy, Taemin-esque sound. Immediately upon hearing Predator, I was reminded of 2020’s Criminal. It has a similar synthwave vibe that favors atmosphere and driving percussion. This happens to be a sweet spot for me as well, making it hard to dislike any track that embraces this style.

While Predator doesn’t push itself to Criminal levels, its brisk energy and gorgeous synth backdrop makes it an easy standout. Gikwang’s airy vocals are the perfect match for this sound palette, and he keeps his performance cool and understated. This helps buoy Predator’s sense of consistent momentum. It does what it does well and doesn’t attempt to hit you over the head with unnecessary distractions. I anticipate this boding well for its longevity. Beyond the song itself, I’m eager to press “replay” just to hear those dreamlike synth tones again!

Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

Grade: B+


15 thoughts on “Song Review: Lee Gikwang (Highlight) – Predator

  1. I was getting serious Taemin vibes too. Another one today, makes me yearn eagerly for SHINee and Taemin comeback.

    This is Taemin-lite. Well done Taemin-lite.

    The problem is that there is not enough tension in the song. The song is called “Predator”, yet may as well have been called “Dark shadows in forest, wait a tic those are only leaves”. Where is the lurking and stalking? Where is the mental perception of danger? If he is a predator, he sounds more like a idle house cat than hungry panther. It needs a few more interesting tours through complex chromatic progression, compelling percussion and bass, swoops on the vocal line like taffy. As is, the song just kinda chugs along on a boring well lit suburban street.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree perfectly. I felt a really strange disconnect between the introduction and how the song ended up being by the time the chorus hit. I was preparing myself for some sort of LA DI DA Esque production, but then rather than progressing and building it up in the chorus, it dropped momentum and sort of stayed there.

      Personally I felt a bit disappointed because the song was not what I wanted it to be, but then I cannot deny that it has a lot of strengths. That first 10-20 seconds legitimately prepared my mind for something which I would be mind-blown by-only to feel like I should not have had too high of expectations.

      I still like it though but because I’m salty I don’t think I would give it any higher than an 8.5 as of now.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lucky day, the sun is out and shining!
      … though I am expecting at least one to move up or down on Nick’s regular movers and shakers post.


  2. It’s like Bad Love and Criminal had a baby who had a happy childhood but discovered people are mean in middle school. Great sound, though. I probably will have to do another roller rink playlist. Dammit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Basically they took every Taemin mv and smushed them together, found the wrong common denominator, and here you are.


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