While it might not be fair or realistic, I’ll always compare idol-rappers-turned-soloists to Bigbang’s G-Dragon. That’s a product of my age, but it’s also testament to how compelling and genre-blending GD’s work was. He wrote the template, and you can feel his influence all over songs like Joohoney’s debut solo single Freedom.
At the risk of belaboring the comparison, Freedom feels like several GD tracks mashed into one. Its introduction offers soul-baring balladry performed with a raw vocal. This segues into a more rousing segment underlined by anthemic percussion. Then, symphonic elements enter the arrangement for a theatrical crescendo before Freedom punctuates its message with rock guitar. I admire the ambition that went into this ever-changing arrangement. But, the underlying song doesn’t feel as developed as its instrumental.
Joohoney is multi-talented in a number of musical fields, and I imagine this makes it difficult to hone in on what to portray on an all-important debut single. He’s gone buffet-style with Freedom, which makes the track play a bit like an album sampler. I enjoy portions of it. I just don’t think it comes together into the kind of song I’ll desperately want to replay without its accompanying visuals and performance.