[Review] SOUL – H&D

Despite already releasing two pre-release songs, H&D officially make their debut today with Soul. For those who may be unfamiliar with their duo, H&D is made up of Lee Han Gyul and Nam Do Hyun. Both were former members of X1 (formed on the Produce X 101 survival show). But the group disbanded after making their debut due to a vote rigging controversy. Each member has gone their separate paths to their home companies, including H&D, who are under MBK Entertainment. Their pre-release songs are Toward Tomorrow (which I have yet to review) and Unfamiliar. Let’s see what the pair in store for their debut.

Soul takes a turn to a more edgy and darker sound. It is definitely different from their bright Toward Tomorrow pre-release and Unfamiliar ballad. But honestly, it is rather typical move for any male group to go down this path. Their differing sound between the tracks they have presented us so far is unique and I do hope that the group does pull off something different in their next comeback. But that is a concern for the future. Let’s refocus on Soul. What Soul does well is put some spotlight on the rapping and vocal work that the duo show in this song. It is a dance track, so both elements automatically become more dynamic and Dohyun’s deep voice still shines through. We could also see more technique in their delivery and sound, which it very exciting for a debut for obvious reasons. Based on this alone, I have the pair on my radar for future releases. The instrumental, especially the chorus, has this very subtle groove to it and I wanted to the producers build on this to make the song even more dynamic and ‘go that extra mile’. This would then make the song a lot more robust, punchy and much less consistent. The song just replayed the same instrumental parts over again and I was a little disappointed with that. I also liked the deep ‘Welcome To My Soul‘ that played throughout the post-chorus hook. Overall, it was a good debut song. But I did want more out of it. Hopefully, they will for their next release.

Shot with the same concrete staircase as the pair’s Unfamiliar music video, I thought it was a good video. There is a little bit of a story line in this video but things seems a little confusing though, so I made a stab at the interpretation (even though I most likely will be wrong). Hangyul and Dohyun are in a car accident but wake up alive. Based on my understanding of the music video, they were meant to die. But as they had given up their ‘soul’ to that statue (i.e. placed roses on the statue), they were kept alive. Each member represents a different form of love. Hangyul seems to represent present love as he has a red rose and is always surrounded by fresh red roses. Dohyun represents past love, which is shown through the dead rose and lack of roses. But as both had given up their souls by placing a rose on the statue regardless of whether or not they are still in love or not, they must remain alive. There was a lot of play on red and blue, which was cool. Their outfits and the sets reflect this using the colours a fair bit.

I like how intense their routine felt, particularly when it came to the chorus. It was reflective of the music and I am always a fan for that. The verses were a weak point, as they didn’t have much choreography to it. Other than that, there isn’t anything memorable or specific worth mentioning regarding the performance.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

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