Five months since the end of Produce X 101, Lee Jinhyuk debuts with the track “I Like That,” together with an album titled “S.O.L.” Unfortunately, the 23 year old rapper did not make it into the final lineup of X1, and was cut at 14th place. Many fans were disappointed and angry, expecting Jinhyuk to debut with X1 considering the fact that he was in the higher ranks consistently throughout the show. Despite being cut, Jinhyuk continued to work hard, and presents himself as a soloist, reassuring fans that his career as an idol is far from over.

“I Like That” showcases Jinhyuk’s talents as a rapper, dancer, and a performer as a whole, with the MV featuring two dance breaks for him to show off his skills. The song is a catchy dance track, promising an exciting path ahead of Jinhyuk with his style of music. The lyrics, as opposed to overtly thanking his fans, focus on how he will set his goals and expectations higher while ensuring fans that he will continue to appreciate them.

Even when I fly above the clouds,
My eyes are on you

The music video consists of flashing lights and zooms in on Jinhyuk, though occasionally breaking the partying aspect of the video by showing slower shots of him surrounded by flowers. There could be a deeper meaning to these aesthetically pleasing shot, perhaps alluding to Jinhyuk exploring a more mature and sensible side in his next music video as opposed to the fun dance track. Yet, the cut from a scene of Jinhyuk dancing to one where he is simply looking at the camera is incredibly jarring, and it does not connect with the rest of the MV at all. It seems like these shots were filmed for the purpose of aesthetics, as well as to satisfy fans’ needs for a certain soft-boy content.

In fact, those scenes took away the fun of the MV, for it made me question why they chose to put it in in the first place. In the first chorus, Jinhyuk and his backup dancers are having fun in red lighting, only to have the MV cut to a shot of Jinhyuk lying down on grass surrounded by flowers. The contrasting moods do not add to the intended message of the song, and neither are these scenes aesthetic pleasing due to their completely different aesthetic styles.

Despite this, the overall tone of the MV is still classy whilst having fun and letting loose. Jinhyuk is dressed with a blazer at all times, and his deliverance of lines, together with his dance, allow viewers to feel relaxed and comfortable. The song also includes Big Bang’s iconic line from “Fantastic Baby”, “boom shakalaka”. A reference to one of Big Bang’s hit songs could imply that Jinhyuk’s goal is reach the same popularity as the group, and possibly even higher. Aside from such goals, the phrase always has a nice ring to it, and it brings a sense of familiarity to listeners.

One thing that made “I Like That” so enjoyable to watch was Jinhyuk’s facial expressions. In most MVs, idols are often depicted smirking into the camera or looking away from the camera seductively, and Jinhyuk does do that in some of the scenes. However, especially during the choruses and towards the end of the MV, Jinhyuk fully enjoys himself as he performs. His enthusiasm is enough to infect viewers and it enables viewers to have fun with the song as well. Such performance quality is usually seen onstage, but for Jinhyuk to express his enjoyment through the MV makes it even more interesting to watch.

Overall, Jinhyuk’s performance in “I Like That” is charismatic and confident, making his solo debut one of the more impressive ones that I have seen. While the song was a typical dance song, his skills as a rapper and dancer shone through. As a soloist, Jinhyuk will be able to present more of his talents, as well as express and explore different genres of music. Personally, I believe that Jinhyuk will continue to charm and surprise us as a soloist, and maybe even show off his singing skills in the future.

(YouTube. Images via TOP Media)