[Single Review] Henry – 1-4-3 (feat. f(x)’s Amber)

Henry - 1-4-3

Henry’s solo activities continue with his follow up MV release for 1-4-3, which is pulled from his EP released last June. With the support of labelmate Amber, 1-4-3 provides Henry with another opportunity to solidify the legitimacy of his solo career. Though his voice isn’t legendary, the guy has a very delicate voice that deserves attention.

Music Video

It was just a generic music video about Henry going to the studio and then dancing his ass off before he meets up with a girl who has been texting him cryptic numbers. I think one thing that threw me off a bit about this video was how kiddish Henry’s presence is. I feel like if you swapped him for someone like Jay Park, the video would have a more cocky, rap star vibe to it. Instead, it seems much lighter than it should be but I actually appreciate how Henry has this sense of humbleness. Though his acting is very cheesy and stiff, he never taps into that cocky rock star persona that his snapbacks and fancy cars would suggest. I think there’s something honest about his performance; he doesn’t need to put on a tough guy act, he just is who he is.

The fancy footwork in the chorus section and dance breaks are very cool and Amber’s inclusion in the music video makes it even cooler. I actually like the choreo in this video because it matches the upbeat nature of the song  very well. The outfits were colorful and appropriate; nothing over the top, just like how Henry performs.

Single

This humble vibe can be felt through the song too. Henry never tries to sing what he can’t and this song stays comfortably within his skill level and range as a vocalist. This song isn’t exactly groundbreaking but it is a pleasantly upbeat song to listen to and I am biased toward the chord progression 1-4-3 uses. I really like this chord progression for its sense of urgency and longing and it really matches the lyrics of the song, which is expressing the speaker’s frustration over the language barrier that sets apart the speaker and his or her lover, and how love cannot simply be expressed by three little numbers.

Amber’s rap in the song serves as a nice break in the song and I definitely appreciate her English and her rapping voice. I think having someone besides Henry rap in this song was a strategic move because it prevents the song from being too boring. Henry doesn’t exactly have a dynamic voice and his vocals tend to lack that oomph that I would like him to have so changing up the dynamics a little with Amber’s rapping was a much needed addition.

It’s a nice end of summer electropop track that I’m sure many fans will appreciate being in the spotlight for a while. For being a non-Korean solo artist in the K-pop realm, I have to commend him for the success he has gotten and this follow up single release, taken from his EP, will surely direct more people to his EP.

Acoustic Version

EXO’s Chanyeol got together with Henry to perform an acoustic snippet of 1-4-3 and I just love it. Without all of that vocal processing, Henry has a very soft, delicate tone to his voice. Again, his humbleness shines through his vocals as well – he never belts a note. Nothing is over the top and though his voice seems a little too thin and lacking power most of the time, I think that’s just his style and I appreciate it in an acoustic setting where songs should sound vulnerable and unabashedly modest. Henry has a comfortingly modest voice so this, I feel, is where he shines the brightest.

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Conclusion:

It’s not the most exciting or outrageous release this summer but it definitely is a nice release regardless. I think being part of Super Junior-M crippled Henry a bit because he was relegated to being strictly a part of a sub group. Thus, his solo activities really helped Henry elevate to being a respected artist in the K-pop world. I really am optimistic about Henry and I really hope that SM allows him to explore his solo career even further. It just sucks when you’re benched on the sidelines of a sub group for a major K-pop boy band.

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TL;DR

Give the humble Taiwanese-HK Canadian singer-songwriter a chance; 1-4-3 is a pleasant, upbeat closer to another summer gone by. 

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