HA SUNG WOON – 'BXXX'
3. Riding (Feat. Gaeko)
4. Excuse Me
5. What Are You Doing Today?!
Ha Sung Woon has just dropped his second mini-album, 'BXXX,' the follow-up to his smash hit 'My Moment' released in February. This one has 5 tracks, including "Riding" featuring Dynamic Duo member Gaeko and the title track "Blue." The former Wanna One singer co-wrote and co-composed most of the tracks on this one.
"Bluemaze" is a rather bizarre track lyrically. He talks about the sea and being lost in a "bluemaze." I think it's less about understanding it than setting a mood. And the mood is laid back, refreshing, and super-chill. It's a good song for all of that really, probably the song you need when the temp breaks 100 F. "Blue" is a power ballad, soft R&B in the main verses, and the chorus is straight-up electropop and decided more frantic than the mellow vocals he lays down before that. He does a pretty sweet job of it, too. His dreamlike falsetto gives you the feels before you know it.
Deft production touches mark "Riding," featuring Gaeko. Aside from Gaeko, who basically sings the song in a different tempo rather than rap, there are some layering techniques around the 1:30 mark that makes this breezy tune pop. At its heart, it's just a song about getting in the car and cruising. "Excuse Me" is a playful tune. It's sung to an acoustic guitar, but before long it picks up a beat and more instrumentation. I think I would have liked to see what he could do with the stripped-down tune it started as. It's not bad, overall. He breaks out his falsetto here, sprinkling it all over the song. It's basically full of pickup lines, including a line about him being nervous every time he does it. The tune "What Are You Doing Today?!" is even more playful than the other ones, if that's possible. It goes to club-banger status with the pounding beats, but it's initially a tropical house beat crossed with R&B (interesting how it's picked up variations, now).
Full of tidy arrangements and killer harmonies, 'Blue' is anything but bluesy or blah. The EP is packed with amusing songs, some of them done with a wink and a nod to the listener in the know. I think the fact that Sung Woon had a hand in what the album sounds like is telling. The instrumentation on here could have made for a very dark album, but instead, we have something that is definitely made for a nice summer evening, a pleasant listen that's very easy on the ears.
In contrast to the album, the MV is very blue.
Everything's blue, in fact, from the wardrobe, to the lighting, to the sets – everything. The only thing that won't be blue is you, while you're watching it.
In addition to a kick-ass song, you get some striking visuals. Ha Sung Woon starts out developing photos, they're photos of the ocean (possibly a callback to "Bluemaze." Then you get scenes of him sitting on a ladder in an empty room, dancing in ankle-deep water with other backup dancers, to him lying on the floor as reflections from a built-in aquarium play over him. In addition to the shadowy close-ups that almost silhouette his profile, you also get some nifty special effects, where instead of his head you get waves crashing. And that's not all of it.
The dancing is pretty good, though we don't see much of it (seems to be a trend nowadays). The movements are in sync, energetic, and perfectly match the frenetic nature of the chorus. If I were you, I'd be checking out live cuts of this tune just to see all of the choreo.
Is there a lot of meaning here? Probably not, other than what I've mentioned. I'm sure you have your own fan theories, so let me know down in the comments.
But I can safely say that this MV drew me in, and I wasn't bored watching it.
MV SCORE: 8.3
ALBUM SCORE: 8.3