[Review] No Rules – BAEKHO

One of the major focuses this week will be solo rookies. I have covered female and male rookie groups to a degree, but I haven’t even picked up any of the artists that recently kicked off their own solo careers. Well, that changes this week with me covering a few rookie solo artists. First up is actually someone who has been around in KPOP for a while now – 10 years to be exact. The artist is none other than BAEKHO, who made his solo debut last week with No Rules and the mini-album Absolute Zero. For those who don’t know, BAEKHO was a former member of the now disbanded NU’EST and also participated in Produce 101 Season 2. He remains at Pledis Entertainment, following the disbandment of his group earlier this year.

No Rules is another groovy track to add to the ever-growing list of groovy singles from this year alone. While I will admit that No Rules pretty much sounds like a song we have heard time and time before and plays it safe, I still quite enjoyed the the track nonetheless. It is just a no-nonsense display of BAEKHO that just sounds great. I quite liked how profound the groovy undertone is in No Rules, brought forward by the electric guitar (otherwise described as a ‘rock sound’) and an undeniable foot-tapping beat. I also like how there isn’t too much else to the instrumental, which allows that groovy undertone to stand out even more and not become masked by the rest of the backing. Similarly, this also allows BAEKHO’s vocals to fully stand out, as it isn’t complicated (or masked again) by noisy instrumentation and such. BAEKHO himself brings a mature and sensual vibe with his approach, which just suits him and feels more natural. If I was to suggest a way to make the No Rules better, a stronger melody would have been top of my list. While No Rules does have its own individual charm, I do feel that the song could have been more memorable. And the melody would have been the most optimal to get this across, given that I think the rest of No Rules is pretty solid. But that is just my two cents on what I think could have taken No Rules to the next level. Overall, No Rules is a nice and straight forward solo debut for BAEKHO.

The cinematography is probably the best aspect of the music video for me. It pretty much felt like movie-quality to me. Usually, I find this level of cinematography is reserved for videos with a much bigger or meatier plot line to get through. But for this video, I couldn’t really piece together a story. The jumping into pools and the ocean was a bit confusing for me and I am unsure of the meaning behind the temperatures on the wristwatch. My understanding is the song is about wanting to escape, so all of these elements in the music video must be linked up somehow to this desire to run away. Aside from that, I see that BAEKHO’s fit body was on display throughout the video and I am not entirely surprised by that.

As for the performance, the aesthetic was what took the cake for me. It isn’t necessarily sensual (despite some of the outfits suggesting otherwise), but it was definitely mature and different. And I quite liked that impression the performance leaves on me. None of the moves really stood out, but I thought the chairs were a good touch. They aided in giving off that impression/aesthetics and they really make the performance feel whole. Also, that chair flip at the end was very sexy.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10

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