Before we get into the review, I would like to first congratulate CHEN for his recent engagement and future marriage. I wish him well for his future endeavours and hope that he can keep entertaining us not only as a solo artist, but as a member of EXO. YOU comes as the first track from CHEN since the announcement of his upcoming wedding and the pregnancy of his now fiancée. Though met generally well within the international fandom, the news didn’t go over too well in his home country of Korea, where it was met with outrage from many so called ‘fans’. This kind of toxic presence within the kpop community is what gives the genre such a bad rep in the eyes of others and shouldn’t be condoned under any circumstances. Artists are human too, and should be treated that way.
Moving onto the song, YOU isn’t any groundbreaking. It’s a pleasant track that works thanks to the sheer talent of its performers and a stirring composition. Though I wasn’t the biggest fan of most CHEN’s solo efforts from last year, I always loved his voice in his EXO material. It’s a voice perfectly suited to bombastic pieces, but still works exceptionally well in more restrained material. Though more upbeat and stirring than most of CHEN’s past efforts, YOU is still a relatively downbeat emotive ballad. However, the inclusion of one of Korea’s best hip hop duos in the form of Dynamicduo adds additional character to what would otherwise be a rather standard track. Their rap verses are excellent, providing strong bars over an engaging beat. They are easily the strongest aspect of the track, pulsing with energy, whilst still matching the emotive atmosphere the song is clearly aiming for.
The opening few bars of the track strongly recall the soundtrack of the iconic animated film Howl’s Moving Castle making me subconsciously yearn for a vocally driven track in the vein of that soundtrack. Though the tracks chorus is decent, it feels as though it could have been much more. I feel like it could have gone bigger, pulsing with more anthemic heft than it currently carries. The backing vocals however are a great addition to track, providing the track with additional emotional depth. Although I would have liked the production to go a bit bigger, the track does have a sense of fulfilment, building to a good finale courtesy of slightly more powerful production flourishes and some nice vocal peaks from Chen.
But regardless of all of this, It’s easy to understand what the song is going for. Rather than knock you over the head, it feels more like a comforting warm blanket for those long Korean winter nights. And in that aspect, it more than gets the job done.
Final Rating: 8/10