2PM member Junho, having released a solo Japanese mini-album earlier this month, has dropped a Korean version of the title track “Winter Sleep” as a digital single on his birthday. It could be called a reverse birthday present to 2PM fans, who must be having quite a party over these past few weeks between Junho’s recent work and fellow member Wooyoung’s first Korean comeback in years. Like much of Junho’s recent solo work, “Winter Sleep” is exquisite. Its relaxed atmosphere calls past release “Canvas” to mind, but this single has a certain seasonal flavor to it that makes it perfect for the month of January in particular.
The composition of “Winter Sleep” is its biggest highlight, varied yet balanced, maintaining a rich atmosphere through moments of silvery starkness and milder sweetness. Almost as wonderful, though, is the way the production carefully reconstructs the atmosphere of a darkening winter evening. Lovely and strange little sounds pepper the instrumental: the vaguely mechanical clinking makes one think of ice; the feathery percussion over the chorus brings snow to mind. The slightly tinny echo of the vocals has an effect that’s simultaneously cool and dreamy—not as warm as a deeper, fuller echo would have been, but equally pensive. Even if I had heard this song in the middle of the summer without being told the title, I’d have immediately put it on one of my winter playlists.
WINTER SLEEP: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Very much a bop.
Take a look at Junho’s “Winter Sleep” MV below: