So let’s talk about Korea’s first openly gay idol, Holland! The soloist just debuted with single “Neverland,” and supporters of the LBGT+ community are proud to see an idol coming out to the public. But to be honest, the song itself hasn’t gotten enough credit. No, it’s not a knockout. Still, the composition has a uniquely delicate, almost gauzy color. The measured piano and pulsing strings render a smooth texture which combines with that diaphanous composition to create a soft, watery atmosphere, something akin to sheets of rain falling or waves lapping at the bank of a lake. While Holland does have some work to do on his vocal range and timbre, there’s something special about how far forward his voice is situated—it gives it that nasal sound which with some work could turn into a very focused and precise tone. No, his vocals are never going to please everyone, but I can see myself enjoying his next comeback very much after he’s had a few more months of practice.
Holland has taken some flak for having an underdeveloped tone, and I’ve seen some people questioning whether one should support a debut simply because the artist is openly gay. The answer is, yes, it is fine to support him just because he’s gay. In my opinion, anyone who wants to support Holland should do so for any reason. Deliberately putting his sexuality in the public eye of a largely homophobic country sends a message that Korea and the world need right now. This message alone merits support. With a significant fanbase backing him, Holland will have the means to grow into an artist who can shine for his talents as well as his courage.
NEVERLAND: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? A bop, honestly.
Take a look at Holland’s “Neverland” MV below: