When Super Junior-M’s Henry released his debut mini-album Trap last year, critics wondered if it was wise for S.M. Entertainment to promote him as a solo artiste. But his popularity sky-rocketed after participating in variety series Real Men and the anticipation was high for his sophomore solo effort Fantastic. The album certainly did not disappoint. All six tracks are a refreshing departure from the typical bubblegum and electro pop that dominates the K-pop scene.
Just the right amount of fun: Fantastic is a subtle yet fun reminder that Henry does not need all those bells and whistles to serve up a good record. The songs on the album may sound relatively modest as compared to the fancy auto-tuned numbers we hear ever-so-frequently on the airwaves, but tracks like the jazzy ‘Bad Girl’ which features a short rap by EXO’s Chanyeol and the R&B ballad ‘You’ incorporate just the right amount of fun to prevent the overall album from sounding too ordinary.
Quality production wins all: Henry’s production team, NoizeBank, wrote four of the songs and it was probably a right move as the artistic vision and musical innovation behind the track-list have helped made up for the lack of vocal versatility on his part. Trained as a classical violinist, the Taiwanese-Canadian showcased his flair for the string instrument in the title track ‘Fantastic’, even though his delivery highlighted some difficult transitions between verses. His tender voice evidently worked better on emotive tracks like ‘Butterfly’, a beautiful duet with SM Rookies’ Seulgi.
Recommended tracks: ‘Bad Girl’, ‘Butterfly’ and ‘You’