After releasing “Break Down” earlier this year to commercial success, Kim Hyun Joong is back with a fresh new sound. How does “Lucky Guy” fare? Not bad, not bad at all.
“Lucky Guy” is all about quirk, attitude, and chaos — fun chaos. It sounds like something straight out of a TV sitcom opening song from the early 2000’s, with the finesse and production technology of 2011. The song is fun to listen to, and rather than barraging listeners with all these fancy auto-tune variants and overused synth loops, we’re given actual instruments playing actual melodies.
The quirk of this song is highly dependent on the instruments – that gutsy electric guitar line and those raw, yet clean and smooth drums, but surprisingly, Hyun Joong’s vocals do a lot for the overall effect too.
Let’s be honest. Hyun Joong has never been the best singer in K-Pop. He’s easily out-sung by many, many other idols. However, he’s always been consistently okay, and sometimes he has his good moments — and “Lucky Guy” is one of them. His light and airy vocals are a good contrast to the arrangement, and prevent the song from going all over the place. All the other elements of the song are so intense that if someone with a bigger, sharper voice were to sing it, the song would be too much.
“Lucky Guy” starts rather simply, but another thing that draws in listeners is how fast the dynamics change. They don’t change every two seconds or anything; you’re still able to take in all the individual parts, but before you get bored, something changes, leaving you at the edge of your seat in anticipation of what’s going to happen next.
The hook is also consistent with the entire theme running through the song — it sticks with you, but it’s not too repetitive. It’s a hook you can actually hum to yourself, because you remember it and because it’s humanly possible to sing it without fancy studio tricks. And that’s what can, and will, ultimately make this song popular — the fact that other people can sing it too.
There’s no arguing that technology has done things we would’ve never been able to do otherwise, but as time passes, new advances will come, and what is new now will become obsolete in the distant or near future. What will transcend time and remain are creative songs, strong arrangements, and melodies. And that’s what “Lucky Guy” has — a strong arrangement and an actual, sing-able, melody.