HUI WHU IS ME: Complex EP Review

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Who is Hui? Known as a leader and all-around ace–singer, songwriter, producer, and actor. Finally, his first-ever solo EP, HUI WHU IS ME: Complex, came out today, and it’s all about him and nothing more. He finally retrieves his true self–the talented Hui that was almost detracted when he joined The Boys Planet reality show, in which he could’ve been a judge or mentor, not a participant. In HUI WHU IS ME: Complex EP, PENTAGON’s leader showcases his whole being–the complexities of his character, through a diverse fusion of tracks.

HUI WHU IS ME: Complex EP starts with the magnetic, fancy, funky Hmm BOP. It’s a grand opening to the EP, as it reminds us of Hui’s standout duty as Triple H’s main vocalist (sometimes, it was like his solo project, especially when you just listen to their songs and not their MVs or live performances), and how wonderful his voice and vocal style is with dance and funk music. The song is as fun as its music video and title, as a parody of Hanson’s 09s hit, MMMBop, albeit a more mature, funky, and vocal-focused one.

MELO, the second track, should have been the first single released. Its radio-friendly sensibilities, bubble-pop, and funky infusion make it an easy listen and musically orgasmic. It could be a sure hit in the Korean charts. HYEON JIN’s appearance is also a plus point, as his playful vocals beautifully contrast Hui’s magis (Latin) – laden vocals. The track’s drop-out beats make it pass as a contemporary chill, lo-fi, and pop song, which is quite huge today. For sure, this track, if pushed up to online streams and on Korean radio, will make it to every contemporary music enthusiast.

READ MORE: I Miss PENTAGON. A New Korean Album, Please.

The third track, Cold Killer, introduces the listener to the heavier and rock-riddled last half of the album. It’s also the track where Hui gave out his all vocal-wise, reaching the high notes at the end of the song, boasting his 8-octave range capabilities almost all throughout.

Despite only being tasked with the track’s verses, JINHYUK’s rap parts brought a ground-level balance to the synchronous track (with all the superlatives of Hui’s vocals and the lead guitars wrestling it). The song’s intro guitar is familiar; I just don’t remember where it was derived.

If someone lets me describe what a fusion of rock and soul or R&B genre is, I would let them listen to A Song for a Dream. In one of PENTAGON’s interviews, the boys were asked what their favorite tracks were, and Hui answered that it was Runaway from the group’s album, DEMO_02, which makes it no surprise that A Song for a Dream is quite reminiscent of the song, as well as Like This from PENTAGON’s DEMO_1.

PENTAGON’s WOOSEOK participates in the track, lending his heartfelt rap and rock-ridden vocals to his hyung as he opens and closes the track, giving it his all. Amongst the four tracks in the HUI WHU IS ME: Complex EP, this is the song that reminded me of PENTAGON the most.

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The 4-track EP is a culmination of everything that has been Hui, from hui’s trainee years, hui’s stint in China, hui’s leadership and the teamwork of PENTAGON, hui’s exceptional vocal duties to the short-lived 3-piece group Triple H, to hui’s future as a talented singer, songwriter, and producer–or whatever hui sets his mind to be. You truly feel the complexity of his character through Hui Whu is Me: Complex EP, as it infused and weaved several genres: rock, pop, funk, rap, and soul.

HUI WHU IS ME: Complex EP Review
Party boy/Celebratory Hui; one of the concept photos from HUI WHU IS ME: Complex EP

Nevertheless, I want more Hui. Hui WHU IS ME: Complex kept me hanging. I yearn for more tracks. I want to hear at least 20 minutes of Hui. The type of song that I’m longing for is a melodic, slow-pop track like Triple H’s GIRL GIRL GIRL, which is one of the tracks that made me fall in love with Hui more. That genre is something that I’m missing from his 1st EP, but I understand that perhaps recently, Hui has been incorporating different styles and creating a heavier and contemporary sound, so the 80s sensibilities of Triple H were left out.

Whatever Cube’s reasons for only producing four tracks, I just tell myself that it could be a cliffhanger to more complexity and intricacy of hui in his coming projects. Can hardly wait for Hui’s next.

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