[Review] SEVENTEEN Hoshi’s sophisticated “Spider” sets up his solo future well

Given their vast array of members and talents, I’m surprised we haven’t seen many solo projects from SEVENTEEN. The group is approaching its sixth debut anniversary, which seems like the perfect excuse to further explore this possibility. Perhaps the release of Hoshi’s “Spider” will be the fuel for that fire.

Before getting into the song, I want to say I’m baffled by K-pop’s definition of “mixtape.” You can’t really have a “mix” with just one track, and the fact that the ‘Spider‘ mixtape comes paired with a glossy music video, M Countdown performance, and is available to purchase on digital shops, makes it far from the kind of underground mixtape popular in hip-hop circles. The only explanation I can come up with involves marketing. The K-pop industry clearly thinks this word sounds cool and gives their artists an air of “authenticity.” Or perhaps “Spider” is only the first in a series of SEVENTEEN songs that will eventually become an actual mixtape? Here’s hoping.

Either way, Hoshi is ripe for solo success. As SEVENTEEN’s performance leader, he continually impresses with inventive choreography. “Spider” showcases this skill, gifting him a sophisticated, slinky dance beat. The song takes obvious influence from K-pop soloists like Taemin, which is both a boon and a drawback. This sound is tried and true, but I wish we could hear something that felt more unique to Hoshi. As satisfying as “Spider” is, I feel like we’ve experienced its minimalist, bass-driven chorus countless times over the past year or two.

Luckily, “Spider” brings a ton of polish and charisma, which helps elevate its familiar sound. Hoshi’s performance has a welcome sense of movement, buttressed by well-placed backing vocals that give the track an appealing texture. Similarly, the production ebbs and flows throughout, never staying in one place for too long. A definite standout is the guitar-fueled breakdown that makes up the song’s climax. Moments like this convince me that Hoshi has more adventurous material in his future, but “Spider” proves his ability to carry a song on his own.

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