Junho - Fine
2PM's Junho is not new to the solo music artist scene, having released a full-length album in 2015, as well a few Japanese mini albums dating back to 2013. Here we are 2 years later with a little over a week to go before he drops his first Korean mini album, Canvas. To get fans prepared for the upcoming mini, Junho has put out a pre-release music video for "Fine."
Creamy vocals are glossed over a mid-tempo beat that's artfully crafted from muted keyboard melodies and carefully plucked guitar notes that are present yet almost purposefully obscured. Sparse rhythmic drumming that end the beats with a clap carry on throughout the entirety of the song, driving it forward at a consistent pace while a synth bass kicks in to progress from verse to pre-chorus, and the chorus has enchanting vocals take the helm. A faint shift of the guitar from diminished notes to mellow chords gives it more residence during the chorus, but all of the instruments still take an appropriate backseat to Junho's sublime voice.
The song is actually a Korean version of a track previously released on his Japanese mini album, 2017 S/S, from July. He composed it to commemorate his cat, Lambo, who died earlier in the year. If you've seen the music video without having known that beforehand, I highly suggest that you go back and watch it again. A lot of the video is tailored to this fact and it adds a lot more depth and emotion to the imagery than you might get otherwise. It would be easy to watch the video and quickly dismiss it as a simple lyric video, but the truth is that there is a very real story being told with a minimal amount of obviousness.
Having everything be animated instead of acted out or involving real imagery of any kind is a choice that I think actually worked in favor of the music video. There is a lot of symbolism that worked in this medium that might have translated poorly, or even comically, if it was attempted as digital effects plastered onto footage. For instance, when Junho is asleep and you can see his reflection in the mirror grow whiskers and cat ears, it would have looked goofy if they had simply done a similar effect transposed onto a video of him sleeping.
There are several scenes that any pet owner can recognize as moments that he shared with his cat that he's fondly recalling. Other scenes depict that Junho feels that Lambo will always be with him as a part of who he is, and that he inspired him and his music. There are too many sweet moments in the video to even go over, but I will say that I honestly cried a little after watching it. It's one of those bittersweet feelings that you just can't shake, especially if you can relate it to your own pets.
Overall, the track is a beautifully made tribute to something very personal for Junho. The authenticity of his affection shines through not just in the gentle vocals, but also in the composition as a whole. Every instrument feels intentionally chosen, and every note feels just as deliberate. There's something about the concept of losing a furry companion that almost everybody can understand or identify with, and I think that's part of what makes this video great. The allegorical drawings of Junho moving past the loss of his cat can hopefully serve as a bandage for others sharing that same pain in their own lives.
I've since finished my review on the mini-album, so be sure to check it out here.