Also making his comeback yesterday is Ha Sung Woon with Sneakers, the title of both the lead single and mini-album. This is Ha Sung Woon’s first comeback in 2021, with his last being Forbidden Island and Mirage from November of last year. This is also his first comeback since the confirmed disbandment of HOTSHOT. It is always disappointing to hear the disbandment of a group, but at least fans could have some closure with the confirmation of the disbandment, especially since it has been almost three years since we last heard from the group (their last comeback was without Ha Sung Woon and titled I Hate You). But sad news aside, we are hear to listen to Sneakers today!
Sneakers had a slow yet pleasant start. I guess the intention of this is to start the song from point zero, as there was a patient buildup in the instrumentation as we progress through the first verse. The pleasantry of this part is the melody, which brings out Ha Sung Woon’s soft vocals really nicely. What came next is pretty unexpected. I don’t think anyone suspected the burst of vibrant energy and super upbeat nature that was Sneakers‘ chorus. Firstly, it is the highlight of the song for me. The chorus is always the central part of a song, and so it should standout. And that is exactly what we get in Sneakers. Secondly, the vibrant energy (thanks to the influx of percussion) is just so catchy and memorable. I also really like the bounce to the song, which is so cool. Same goes for all the melodies we get throughout this section of the song. And thirdly, the chorus brought a smile to my face. And I guess that is thanks to the same vibrant energy (and may also be due to the music video, but I will get to that soon). Once the first chorus, the second verse doesn’t revert back to the slow pace of the first verse entirely. Instead, it keeps the beat going for a bit, which is great, The slowness does return as part of the pre-chorus, though I think this helps make the second chorus feel even more explosive. We get a brief stripping of the instrumentation for the bridge, before a quick buildup to the final chorus. Ha Sungwoon’s vocals in this part sounds so good and I really like how clear it is. Ha Sungwoon shows off more of this vocals in the final chorus, with high notes and ad-libs. Overall, I really enjoyed Sneakers, as it is vibrant and a super fun track that makes me smile.
I feel the music video is very relatable, especially due to the past year. A lot of us were in lockdown for the most part of 2020, staying away from strangers and the world in hopes not to contract the COVID-19 virus. And Ha Sungwoon portrays that in this music video. However, I think Ha Sungwoon is isolating for other reasons other than a pandemic. He is in bunker and he basically locked himself in there. He also has a lot of supplies that looks like it might last him a while. While he was reaching for a new water bottle, he knocked over a box that contains some sneakers. Memories of times where he was hanging outside start flooding back and he even reminisces about those time. In the end, he decides to leave the bunker to re-experience those memories and it appears to be the best decision he has ever made, enjoying the fresh air and sunlight that he sees for the first time. I guess it helps that your bunker is in a prime location like how his one was. Though scenes of him enjoying the sun and air, along with his memories of those times, brought a smile to my face. It all looked very genuine, and his enjoyment is easily transferred to you.
A really energetic performance accompanies the release of Sneakers. While this is expected, I really think Ha Sungwoon and the dancers went above and beyond, incorporating jumps that are high and take up a lot of your energy. I do think there is opportunity for more footwork throughout the performance, to really show off the sneakers. This is on the basis (and I hope) there are some awesome sneakers worn during the promotional period.
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9/10