Baekhyun is back just in time for summer with the release of his 2nd solo mini album Delight. Seven songs of smooth R&B and velvety pop swirl together over Baekhyun’s signature honeyed vocals to comprise a texture that’s as sweet as candy. The production remains relatively minimal throughout, keeping the sound light and airy, and letting Baekhyun’s distinctive voice take center stage in the arrangements. Whether he’s singing in his rich, lower register, belting out high notes with power, or dazzling us with his falsetto ad libs, Delight excels at showing off Baekhyun’s multiple facets.
Title track ‘Candy’ is a gem. I love the way the sonic loop weaves up and down conjuring memories of chasing the ice cream truck as a kid, and how the tempo slows between verse and chorus almost like its winding up a toy. The chorus is addicting with Baekhyun promising to be his girl’s “candy,” comparing his feelings to pop rocks and strawberry bubblegum while offering “something original” in his romantic pursuit. The sweet sentiment is earnest, as Baekhyun imbues the lyrics with passion. His hummed serenade after the bridge is particularly effective, selling the simple emotion of the song and showing off his vocal acrobatics for good measure too.
The music video for ‘Candy’ is appropriately bright and colorful with a nod to ‘90s aesthetics that really makes it pop. Baekhyun and his friends court some dates at the movie theater arcade before inviting them to an underground skatepark to further impress. The action culminates in a dance-off of sorts, girls versus boys, with Baekhyun leading the pack like he’s Danny Zuko in Grease. Atmospherically the video is playful and loose, setting a nostalgic vibe and reminding me of leisurely days gone by. What sells it is Baekhyun’s stage presence. From grabbing sodas and snacks, to popping wheelies and showcasing his effortless footwork (and voice), it would be hard not to take a bite.
Naturally, there are additional charms to attract listeners on Delight. ‘R U Ridin’?’ and ‘Poppin’ are of a similar formula to ‘Candy’ and help trace a lightness through the album with their breezy rhythms and melodic swagger. ‘Ridin’ is a personal favorite, with its catchy chorus and upbeat arrangement causing me to hit the repeat button to get my fix. I also really like ‘Ghost’ with its peppy, tropical beat masking its deeper lyrical meaning. In it Baekhyun ruminates about a lover who’s neither there nor fair, and the haunting realization that “every time you go, you ghost.” It’s an evocative statement sure to rouse anyone who’s dealt with a broken heart or sudden loss.
R&B cuts ‘Bungee’ and ‘Underwater’ are further reflective and moody. The water imagery in both cast a dreamy tone, using spare instrumentation to bring Baekhyun’s effervescent voice to the surface. The piano chords that underscore ‘Bungee’ give it a jazzy feel whereas ‘Underwater’ utilizes light percussion, keeping the beat syncopated while Baekhyun delivers a restrained yet emotive vocal. Closing ballad ‘Love Again’ stays on theme here, adding in acoustic guitar for a coffeehouse vibe. “Tell me your love again/ come back to me again,” Baekhyun laments in the song, bargaining for one more chance. Like a box of chocolates, there’s a little something for everyone on Delight. Some songs are delicately sweet, while others carry a hint of spice. But whatever your preference may be, it’s sure to be a treat.
BAEKHYUN The 2nd Mini Album Delight (Chemistry Ver.) is available now for pre-order. It includes a booklet (72p), folded poster, postcard, photo card, and a sticker. Also available exclusively is official Delight fashion merchandise including a sweatshirt and shorts set, face mask, DIY keyring set, and an AirPods case. Pre-order yours today at SM Global Shop!
*All opinions stated are the author’s own.