After months of rumours hinting at the news, Kyuhyun from Super Junior has finally made his solo debut with At Gwanghwamun. I must admit that, upon seeing the first few image teasers, I was slightly disappointed that Kyuhyun’s music was not going to take a route similar to this. Jokes aside, however, the mini-album is one that contains an impressive collection of ballads that complement the autumn season.
Since Kyuhyun was first revealed to be SM’s next solo artist on November 6, there have been daily teasers leading up to his song release. The image teasers came first, exuding an autumn feeling and giving fans a general idea of the album concept. A series of audio snippets, each containing a line from a song off the mini-album, were gradually released afterwards. Although they were barely an indication of how the song would sound, the audio teasers did succeed in piquing people’s interest. They were followed by the mandatory album tracklist, MV teaser and highlight medley.
The audio of “At Gwanghwamun” was released at midnight on November 13, and within hours of its release, it made a digital all-kill, which means the song reached the top position on Korea’s seven major online portals. It also hit #1 in the iTunes album sales of five countries, and the song has been receiving praise from Korean and international netizens alike. In response to the public reaction, Kyuhyun tweeted, “Even though I have to perform very soon, I can’t get to sleep because I am just so excited.”
The music video, revealed later in the day, is relatively simple and focuses entirely on Kyuhyun, with a short (and somewhat random) feature from Irene of Red Velvet close to the end. The video as a whole does not seem particularly noteworthy. However some moments stand out, such as its filming technique in the first half, which is similar to that of Super Junior’s “Evanesce” — one scene melds into the next through the use of a common aspect of the scenes. The end also revolves (literally) around Kyuhyun playing the piano, which is a pleasant surprise as the skill is not one he shows very often.
The maknae of Super Junior is finally getting his time to shine after his rocky addition the group eight years ago. Readers, what are your opinions on Kyuhyun’s solo debut, and “At Gwanghwamun?”