My love for Lucy’s music wasn’t immediate, but it bloomed big time over the course of 2020. The group is at their best when they embrace the full drama of their configuration, pulling in sweeps of theatrical violin courtesy of leader Yechan and pushing main vocal Sangyeop to utilize the full expressiveness of his rich voice. This ambition resulted in two classic tracks last year – the sprightly Snooze and the epic Flare.
New single Hero (히어로) fits within a different category. It maintains the group’s strengths (especially Wonsang’s killer bass playing), but the song itself feels like a typical idol band track trussed up with Lucy’s gift for arrangement. That still places it leagues ahead of many other K-pop offerings, but I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed. As genial as Hero is, it’s missing that one extra element that would put it over the top.
Like last year’s Jogging, Hero moves at a clip. After opening with a slow-burn introduction delivered by drummer Gwangil, a violin solo takes us into the jazzy verse. This section doesn’t do much for me, and feels like it’s simply killing time before we hit the chorus. Hero’s central refrain isn’t one of the group’s strongest, but I like how the percussion becomes swift and frenzied during this moment. The song’s highlight doesn’t come until its final moments, when the violin riff merges with vocal chants to create an uplifting finale that should have lasted longer. Hero is a good track because it’s performed by a good band. But, I wish they’d opted to promote something more ambitious (like b-side Stove, for example!).