[Review] Chuu showcases what she wanted to with solo debut “Howl”

Finally free from Blockberry Creative, Chuu‘s career is already doing well thanks to her variety talent, but with “Howl” she’s setting out to prove her musical talent is up to par. As such, pre-release track “Underwater” was predictable in that it was one of those songs that soloists releases once they stake out on their own to prove they are grown up now and serious about music. It was something clearly on her mind.

“So many people were surprised by my singing voice,” Chuu said. “Even my friend of 10 years, despite already knowing how I sing, said she didn’t know I could sing this way. I think this album helped me show everyone a side of me that I was unable to before.”

Unfortunately, for people who knew she could sing, it didn’t do a ton that was musically interesting even though it was pleasant enough. For better or worse, “Howl” was a bit different, and it reminded me a lot of Taeyeon‘s debut with “I“, if you substitute synths in for pop-rock.

Thankfully, “Howl” grows from a capella ballad to a surprisingly upbeat synth during the chorus, and Chuu’s vocal grows to meet the song, coming through as clear and sweet as ever. If the point was to show people that she can sing, then job well done, but the song’s melodies and production never quite get as dramatic as they should, instead mostly giving off an atmospheric and floating feeling throughout. It wants to soar but doesn’t quite want to take that leap of faith off the cliff, and it’s the kind of song that really could’ve used another minute of runtime in order to let that develop. Still, it’s hard to see fans of hers having much issue with this, and it’s still potentially a kind of playlist addition for the right mood.

“Howl” is a perfectly good debut for Chuu and I think she accomplishes what she wanted with this release: to prove she’s a capable vocalist and serious singer. While her first two offerings off the album don’t go much further than that, in the future she’s bound to find a combination that works better, so there’s a lot to look forward to.


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