Prior to his solo debut in 2020, I had imagined this huge Michael Jackson style career for Kai. Big songs, showstopping performances and tons of theatricality. Reality hasn’t played out like that, as he seems more intent on pursuing vibey tracks that lean further into R&B. This is absolutely fine (who am I to tell an artist what to do?), but apart from a few songs on his debut mini, I haven’t been as enraptured with his solo career as I’d hoped.

New single Rover is a step in the right direction, at least when it comes to tempo. It’s nice to hear him perform something a bit more upbeat, and the song’s Reggaeton thump makes for an addictive anchor. But beyond that energy, there’s not much to sink your teeth into. I’m not sold on the repetitive chorus and its silly lyrics. I guess it’s supposed to sound sexy, but the obvious rhyme plays more like Sesame Street.

Kai gets some nice vocals into the verses, his voice gliding over the track with an appealing litheness. But, there aren’t many melodies that hook me. Instead, the song keeps pace – pleasant but never enthralling. Compare Rover to a track like Tyla’s Been Thinking (a 2023 obsession of mine). Both conjure a similar vibe, but Been Thinking has a single-minded focus that keeps every moment taut and compelling. Rover feels repetitive yet dull, never building toward anything beyond a seductive vibe. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to make it a highlight.

Hooks 7
Production 8
Longevity 8
Bias 7

Grade: C


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Publisher: Nick