After taking part in the first male edition of “Produce 101” and debuting with Wanna One, Bae Jinyoung’s future surely appears to be very bright. He is set to debut in C9Entertainment’s new boy group in the latter half of the year. In the meantime, he debuted as a soloist on April 26th. “Hard To Say Goodbye” is a pre-debut solo track where Bae Jinyoung, aside from showcasing his talent, helped penning his own lyrics for the first time.
Known for being a flower boy and one of the youngest members of Wanna One, his low-toned warm voice might come out as a pleasant surprise for those who aren’t familiar with him. While he is not one of the most powerful belters in k-pop, his voice is very soothing and he pours his heart in the lyrics he is singing. Given how “Hard To Say Goodbye” is a mellow ballad, he makes a good fit for the song.
While the song itself fails at being particularly memorable, it is an enjoyable ballad — in line with most K-dramas’ soundtracks. Full of strings and with a simple piano line, the production is meant to be minimalistic and not particularly outstanding, allowing the vocals to steal the scene.
The music video for “Hard To Say Goodbye” is quite simple. Jinyoung is seen carrying out his day: first, he buys some flowers, then he assembles a chair. As the song peaks, he is seen wearing black clothes and bursts out crying. It appears evident that the person he says he finds hard to let go in his lyrics is someone who actually passed away.
This plot twist, while certainly dramatic, is not obvious and the viewer gets a sense of surprise mixed with deep sorrow. While the song’s lyrics seem to hint more at a break-up than to the departure of a loved one, overall what gets portrayed in the music video doesn’t feel like a stretch. Still, the scene when Jinyoung is seen crying does feel a bit too long.
In a ballad’s music video with no other actor starring, there is only room for so much creativity. Certainly, the music video’s main aim wasn’t to be remembered as incredibly original, but rather served as a means to show Bae Jinyoung’s visuals. There are indeed a lot of close-ups on his pensive expressions and there is even a scene where he bathes, showing his shoulders and collarbones. This mild sexualisation —that can also be classified as fanservice— feels a little inappropriate in light of the very serious nature of the music video.
Thanks to his hard work and his charms, Bae Jinyoung was one of the eleven lucky Produce 101 trainees who got to debut as Wanna One. In a group consisting only of the public’s favourites, it’s twice as hard to stand out. Having a naturally quiet personality, Jinyoung hardly got the spotlight on himself. “Hard To Say Goodbye” is his chance to finally show how much of a talented singer he is.
Unfortunately, the song itself lacks the originality Jinyoung needed to make a bigger impact with his solo release. While the fact that Jinyoung helped writing the song’s lyrics is certainly positive, there is nothing about what he wrote that happens to be particularly remarkable. Perhaps, going for such a traditional and cliché ballad as his first solo single wasn’t the wisest choice. For an idol of only 19 years old though, this means little to nothing, as he will get plenty of chances in the future to find his own colours and mature both as an artist and as a lyricist.
(YouTube, Images via C9Entertainment)