Lee Jinhyuk (an incredibly handsome lad) is a solo artist and is also part of the boy group UP10TION, serving as their Main Rapper. UP10TION has some really great music, despite me not really vibing with them as a group. From the music I’ve seen from them so far, they feel similar to NU’EST except being slightly less well known when comparing them (at least as a group. Lee Jinhyuk is riding on that Produce X 101 fame). I love both groups but I love NU’EST a lot more since I feel like they can distinguish themselves from other groups who have a similar style and concept like them. UP10TION have some of my favorite rappers and vocals in kpop and I really enjoyed their previous comeback even though it did get some mixed feelings in the kpop review realm.
I’ll talk about Lee Jinhyuk as an artist instead of a person before I’ll say what kind of vibe he gives me. I’m sure he’s a really nice guy but personally I don’t think his artistic ‘persona’ necessarily shows that. That persona in this debut feels like a snarky and narcissistic frat boy antagonist (wow that was a mouthful). And what’s weirder is that he doesn’t fully sound like that when he’s with UP10TION, only when he is by himself. That’s what ‘I Like That’ feels like to me. A club song meant for the snarky and narcissistic frat boy antagonist to perform during the second act of the story, as they plan to take down the good guy protagonist.
Besides from that, let’s dissect the song. I really enjoyed the intro as it basically sounds like Stray Kid’s Back Door chorus, a song that I feel like is one of their (as in Stray Kids) best. Moving on to the first verse, the autotne placed while he’s singing in a higher tone makes it feel really goofy sounding. I really wish they didn’t do that but it doesn’t sound awful if you don’t pay too much attention to it. The pre-chorus is my favorite part of the song. I would actively have ‘swimming swimming 빠져들고 싶어 bébé’ stuck in my head. To me, it’s extremely catchy. As the pre-chorus progresses, it lands into a very predictable sounding chorus with whiny sounding adlibs and repetitive words (in this case 날아 [nal-ah] meaning fly) possibly trying to pass as a “”hook”” (Here’s an example of a repetitive hook done right).
Additionally, what is it with kpop and second verses? Second verses are either neutral, incredible, predictable (raps being placed in the second verse is the most predictable and overused kpop technique) or just downright awful like this one was. Oh my, I never want to hear the first part of that second chorus ever again! Ah my poor ears! Furthermore, the ‘boom shakalaka’ just solidified my hatred for this part of the song and felt like the writers didn’t really have anything else to add other than that. The bridge was just as bad and the last chorus was just down right frustrating to listen to. I feel like the producers just gave up and just put everything together into one giant mess with some occasional chanting. This song had so much potential! I love this instrumental, it sounds like one NCT could have used. The choreography and the music video (despite those weird flower and mirror scenes) fits this type of song perfectly! Ah, I feel so pissed because this could have been so much better than it turned out to be!
From viewing his other title tracks, the potential is there but it’s just not fleshed out enough. Oh, and where do I start with his rapping? It’s pretty decent but I feel like his rapping is diagnosed with ‘The Mark Effect™’. The Mark Effect™ (No offense to NCT’s Mark. He’s a really sweet and awkward little dork who is just so lovable!) is when someone’s rapping sounds really cartoony or like they’re not actually rapping, they’re just attempting to rap (I hope that made sense). I don’t think this will change anytime soon unfortunatley but I don’t mind it too much.
In conclusion, I really hope that in the future Lee Jinhyuk is able to distinguish himself in the kpop sphere and that he’ll come out with a track that feels unique to him and his music.
I’d give this song a…
Thanks for reading this long review! (And I’m so thankful I’ll add this cool looking GIF)