Posted in Music, Review

“Cuz I just wanna free somebody”

Years ago, if i heard that a group’s member is making a solo debut, my first thought would be ah, that member has left or will soon leave the group s/he’s a part of. But nowadays i don’t worry as much, especially if it’s coming from K-pop music scene which sees releasing solo album(s) as one part of an idol’s solo activities. One of the latest names jumping on the bandwagon is f(x)’s Luna.

There seems to be no rule that the ones with strongest vocal or highest number of following are the first in line to be promoted as a solo artist, yet it invariably excites me upon learning that a member whose tone i like is given that chance. Luna is one of ’em. Those who know f(x) will agree that she is the powerhouse in the group, and she proves and gets to flaunt what a great voice she has in this mini album.

As a soloist, many would challenge themselves with genres that are quite different from the group’s music style, but Free Somebody sounds pretty close to f(x)’s tunes. I don’t mind the similarities, since what matters most is how good the song and voice is. I was happy that the title track isn’t a ballad and was in fact excited to note that (judging from the teaser) it was a dance number instead.

The single she released together with fellow bandmate Amber in collaboration with R3hab as part of SM Station‘s project last month was dope. Wave offers throbbing club beats while Free somebody “future house electronic pop dance” so they’re not really comparable though the effect is similar: an exhilarating listen. Both use synthesizers heavy-handedly and got me on first watch though i gotta say Free somebody has more addictive rhythm. It’s also more loop-friendly; my head would spin if i repeat Wave too often.

The heart-pumping beats would be nothing if the vocals can’t carry it. But worry not, Luna delivers every note with fervor and hits the high notes effortlessly. You can actually feel the high energy even without watching the music video or live performance. And if the above MV doesn’t convince you enough of her singing and dance quality, check out her debut stage on M! Countdown below:

I love these “fancam” versions as they allow us to see the choreography in full and without obstructions. Props to Miyoshi Akane for putting together an entrancing routine — i can’t get enough of it! I also appreciate that she doesn’t resort to provocative moves to match the song’s sexy underlying theme. The MV doesn’t reveal much of the choreo, so i’ve since looked forward to the solo stages and Luna’s are nothing short of amazing thus far: she’s got the vocal, the moves, the swagger, the confidence. Girl is on fire! She commands the stage like nobody’s business, which isn’t an easy feat for someone who’s used to performing in a group.

There are 5 other tracks in the EP, though none is as catchy and impressive as the title track. If you dig the album opener’s, you’ll probably enjoy Galaxy, a bouncy EDM with hints of dubstep, or Keep on doin’, an edgy number sprinkled with cute delivery and high-pitched rap. The latter could definitely pass off as an f(x) song.

The rest are slower jams: Breathe is an overreaching ballad with spare drum which showcases her pipe; I wish is warpy with hypnotizing synths and breathy croon; My medicine is soft ballad with simple instrumentation. (The last two are co-wrote and co-composed by her.) I like the melody and raw emotions though after all those syncopated songs, it may come off as bland and out-of-place, though for me it’s a nice closing track. I also like how the upbeat and downtempo songs are alternated as if to give listeners room to catch our breaths before getting down to the next head-bopping music.

All in all, Free Somebody is a solid EP even though it took me several loops to warm up to the other album tracks. Free somebody is easily my favorite promotional single of all idols this year, if not thus far. If you’re looking for new hip music for the weekend, definitely give this one a go.

freesomebody_mnet

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