Henry’s plodding “That One” shows why SME had him in the basement

Late last year, Henry publicly expressed frustration with his label, SM Entertainment, for the lack of opportunities they were providing for the release of new music. Ever since, he’s enjoyed something of a renaissance, appearing on an ever-growing list of variety shows and releasing a string of successful digital singles. Score one for the artists, I suppose. But while his variety appearances have been incredibly entertaining, the style of his new music hasn’t really connected with me.

Songs like “That One” may be authentic in the sense that they’re what Henry genuinely wants to be releasing, but they’re just not all that interesting. Henry’s a multi-instrumentalist and born performer, capable of delivering a multitude of genres with relative ease. And though “That One” offers the occasional flourish of strings that remind us of his virtuoso as a violinist, the bulk of the track is too indebted to its murky plod of trendy, western-inspired r&b.

The melody never really goes anywhere, shackling Henry’s vocals into a repetitive lull that fails to excite. His strength has always been as more of an all-around performer than a vocal-driven artist, but I think “That One” could have been improved tenfold if given to an artist capable of the kind of bombastic vocal runs and ad-libs that might command attention. Instead, the song is delivered in an affected hush, too timid to leave much of a mark. I adore Henry, but I don’t think this sound is his strength.

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