After a few years of releasing solo material, Super Junior’s Yesung has finally released his first Korean studio album! The singer dropped Sensory Flows on January 25 and is already topping iTunes charts around the world. The release, a collection of ten tracks, is a nice and sweet project focused on relaxing tracks and smooth vocals.
Each song on the album generally follows the same formula of laidback indie pop music. The arrangements are nice, with occasional synth work that nods to 80’s city-pop, especially on the track “Like Us.” There are times when the songs go more in the traditional pop ballad direction, like with “Bear Hug,” and “Moment,” serving as excellent vessels for Yesung’s intimate vocals. He leans heavily into his more breathy tones, adding further to the dreamy sound of the album. Each song flows smoothly into the next, which while generally a good thing, in this release’s case, highlights just how similar each song is and doesn’t offer enough diversity.
Each song on its own is fine, but listening to the album as a whole isn’t a particularly engaging experience. The vibe I get from this release is very “coffeehouse,” which isn’t a bad thing; sometimes we need some relaxing music to work to, but it relegates the work to background music. The track “4 Seasons,” fully embraces this genre, invoking a vision of hearing this in a quiet little coffee shop. While Yesung’s vocals are fantastic, he largely stays in that breathy tone for each song and thus, like the production, doesn’t bring enough distinction to each song. It would have been interesting to hear more tracks like the aforementioned “Like Us,” sprinkled throughout to break up the monotony.
Overall, “Sensory Flows” is a good release; each of the songs is enjoyable in its own right. The problem lies in listening to them as a whole package, where each work loses its distinction and doesn’t command attention. The songs are vulnerable and clearly come from the heart, but their tenderness isn’t able to push out of the box to make a lasting impact.