[Review] Bolbbalgan4 & Baekhyun put together a drab collab with “Leo”

Just a day after IU and BTS‘s Suga teamed up to deliver the kind of superstar collaboration that the digital charts wet themselves over, BOL4’s Ahn Ji Young and EXO’s Baekhyun have paired to unleash some healthy competition. But while yesterday’s “Eight” bucked expectations as a driving pop track, “Leo” sounds exactly how you would expect it to. I’m sure this will have little to no bearing on its chart success, but it makes for a comparatively forgettable product.

This will sound unnecessarily harsh, but “Leo” is what I call a “nothing song.” I listen to it and — yes, there’s music, yes, there are lyrics, yes, there’s a performance — but no element draws me in. Both artists have highly recognizable, highly lauded voices and certainly enjoy well-established fan bases. But, “Leo” is little more than musical mush. Its soft, jazzy instrumental is Korea’s go-to for springtime fare, wafting in and out without leaving a trace behind. It’s music to nap to, and I guess that has its place.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t give its performers much to do. “Leo” is so drowsy that Ji Young and Baekhyun can’t help but sound bored. Even when they come together for some nice harmonies during the chorus, there’s no spark. That’s not to say that this had to be some high-tempo banger to be decent. There are ways to craft a satisfying mid-tempo, using inventive melody or dynamic arrangement. Instead, “Leo” coasts the entire way through, intent to ride its easy, breezy appeal without taking a single chance. We’ve mostly been spared this kind of lazy springtime material this year, so I guess we were past due. It’s just a shame that this regrettable template had to be channeled by two performers as celebrated as Ji Young and Baekhyun.


IATFB says: The timing of this is quite amusing. A day after people bizarrely called the IU and Suga collab coffee-house and shit, we get something that’s actually the type of drab affair that we tend to dislike off hand.

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