For the entirety of this weekend, I will be focusing my reviewing efforts on solo artists. This includes both song and album reviews, for recent comebacks involving established solo acts or new idols embarking on their solo careers. First up on the reviewing block is Hoshi’s mixtape single, Spider. This is Hoshi’s first solo release since his debut as part of SEVENTEEN in 2015 (which was six years ago!). The release of Spider has caught fans off guard with its sudden announcement on 26 March and its unveiling within a week (with a few teasers per usual in between). As the release occurred while I was on break, I haven’t had the opportunity to review it yet. But since I am back and dedicating this entire weekend to solo releases, it is perfect time to finally listen to Spider in detail.
Known for his performance skills and is also the leader of the Performance unit of SEVENTEEN, it was expected that any solo release from Hoshi would be a dance song that focuses on the performance. I never thought of Hoshi to go down the ballad route for his first solo release, and Spider confirms that. Spider is a very charismatic R&B dance track, pulling me in right during the first listen with its alluring and engrossing energy. Hoshi starts the song with a melodic whisper, before progressing to vocals that do the building towards to the chorus. For the most part, the instrumental felt very neutral up until the chorus. When the chorus kicks into gear, Hoshi presents us with sensual energy that felt very aesthetic. I really like the sleekness of the whisper-like syllable-by-syllable start to the chorus which incorporated guitar work into the instrumentation and infusing a very minute amount of funkiness into the song. And like the verses, the chorus builds itself to be a substantial centrepiece of vocals and instrumentation that fits into the R&B realm of music. The rest of the song continues the momentum that has been built up so far, with the addition of falsetto vocals in the second verse and electrifying guitar work as the main backing for the song’s dance break. While it sounds like I am only praising the song, I did feel that Spider had one flaw at first. Initially, I thought the song had weak melodies and hooks. But after a week’s worth of listens, I find that they are growing on me and anything different would obviously ruins Spider’s aesthetic, which is a major appeal point of the song. Overall, Spider showcases some of the best parts of Hoshi. Aside from his performance skills (which I will talk about in the bit), Spider shows off potential as a solo artist and his vocal skills as well.
Spider‘s music video is an excellent visual concoction that caught my attention during the first pass. One of the strongest aspects of this music video is the cinematography. One really great example is the slow spin of the camera at the start of the video. It plays with us, using the fact that Hoshi was actually hanging upside down in the choreography at that point. It also felt like the POV of a spider crawling down using its web. I also really like how the camera angles and zooming made those ‘corridors’ (like the one in which he is hanging upside down in) feel longer. The second aspect of the video has to be Hoshi’s visuals. He looked amazing throughout the video. Just by seeing him in this music video, he has shown that he can be sensual, charismatic and hypnotic. And those a three big boxes to tick.
Obviously, the biggest element of this solo release has to be the performance (I know, I have already rambled on about how this comeback is all centric on the performance). And I think Hoshi fulfilled all expectations of him. Right from the start, Hoshi hang upside down, delivering us with an impactful view. He moves in a very sleek yet powerful manner throughout the performance. I also really like the choreography for the second verse and chorus, where he is held, blocked and pulled by the dancers. We see interactions with dancers commonly. But that how sequence is complicated timing wise and felt very calculated. A very strong routine from the Performance Leader.
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.5/10