Another veteran idol has claimed R&B for his solo debut, but this time, it’s someone more widely known for dance than for vocals. Hoya, former main dancer of INFINITE, has made his first solo release as much about dance as about the music itself, dropping two music videos which focused almost exclusively on choreography. Even so, the music on EP “Shower” plays to his strengths as a singer, bringing us a plethora of modestly warbled high notes that serve to support the seductive concept of the comeback. This is especially true on prerelease single “Angel” and title track “All Eyes On Me.”
My problem with “Angel” and “All Eyes On Me” is that they’re purposefully low-impact. This is mood-making music, not something that aims to actively engage the ear. That’s great if you’re looking to make a mood, but otherwise, there’s not much to hold onto here. “All Eyes On Me,” for example, traipses along on an unbothered beat that never changes or develops. At best, there are two or three moments where the vocal melody hits a surprising rhythm, but even they have little dimension due to the lack of instrumental or background vocal harmonies. The exception is the prechorus with its wave of mellow synths which inject a definitive tune into the wandering vocals, but even that is gone too soon, giving way to the spare hook where some straightforward bass is the most interesting element. “Angel” is, if anything, more about mood and less about music than “All Eyes On Me,” featuring little more than some low-fi synths that billow as if they’re underwater and Hoya’s nasal upper register crooning about getting closer to a girl. It’s terrifically atmospheric, but the song’s merit ends there. The rest of the album, while brighter and more compositionally substantial than the singles, is similarly wanting in punchy moments. I personally hope that Hoya’s next solo release aims, perhaps, at catchy rather than moody, because I’d love to see where that might lead. And I also hope it sticks to his dance concept, because that aspect of the debut he nailed, of course.
ANGEL & ALL EYES ON ME: KAYBOPS OR KAYFLOPS? Ehh. Floopy.
Take a look at Hoya’s “Angel” and “All Eyes On Me” MVs below: