Making his solo comeback yesterday was Kim Jae Hwan, with his newest single Spring Breeze. It is Kim Jae Hwan’s first release of the year, with his last comeback being in September 2022 with BACK THEN and Empty Dream. More recently, we heard him as part of fellow Wanna One member Park Woo Jin’s solo debut album, featuring in the pre-release single Self Portrait. On other related matters for his comeback, here is a fun fact! Wanna One, the project group that Kim Jae Hwan used to be part of, previously released a single that shares the name as his latest title track – Spring Breeze. Anyway, with that now out of the way, let’s get stuck right into the newer song.
With a title like Spring Breeze, this contemporary pop song is fittingly breezy. The main drawing element in the instrumental is a folksy flute or whistle. It isn’t striking, like how flutes and whistles are usually used in KPOP nowadays. Instead, it is quite light and soft, but it is distinct enough to be noticed. The guitar work adds what feels like a complimentary acoustic flair to the song. The rest of the instrumental, through percussion and beat, adds some body and meat to the song. Despite that, the instrumental for Spring Breeze remains quite balanced overall, which enables that ‘breezy’ descriptor to be applied to the song. Kim Jae Hwan brings even more heft to Spring Breeze via his vocals, which helps makes him stand out quite a bit. In particular, this vocals soars during the pre-choruses, creating the impression of an incline in momentum. Interestingly, Kim Jae Hwan then opts for a lower tone to begin the choruses, creating a relatively striking moment for Spring Breeze. This adds a bit more appeal to the song, as it is clever way of drawing attention to the song. My main issue is the fact I didn’t get much out of the melodies and hooks aside that they sound decent. I feel that is partly due to the design of the song. They literally flow by and they don’t really have much of an anchor to become memorable. This becomes a problem when you do a more casual listen and aren’t exactly paying attention towards the details of the song. These elements that usually become the centerpiece of the song, but instead they end up flowing out the other ear soon after. It isn’t an indication of the melodies/hooks sounding bad persay, but rather a lack of opportunity to process them. Overall, Spring Breeze is a nice track to listen to. But as indicated by my comments on the melodies/hooks, Spring Breeze could easily be lost to the strong competition around it.
The music video is miss for me. I really liked the flowy and breezy bits of the video, which makes complete sense for a song about memories that appear again during the months of Spring that is titled Spring Breeze. However, I am not entirely sure about the more striking looks of the video, such as Kim Jae Hwan’s full black outfit and the bold blue circle on the ground during some of the solo/choreography shots. They just don’t fit the rest of the aesthetics of the video, in my opinion.
I did have concerns, given how light the song, where the choreography would lean towards. And the fact that it easily could have been overdone. But the choreography gears towards a more aesthetic approach, which is a safe move. The routine appears graceful, softly delivered and smooth, not sharp and impactful like other routines out there. This compliments the song well. The ending with the tree formation by the remembers reminds me of EXO’s Wolf for some reason. Trees have appeared in choreographies since 2013, so I am not sure why the flashbacks are happening here.
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6,5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10