A massive star in Asia, actor, model and singer Kris Wu first found fame with Chinese-Korean boyband Exo, who were so phenomenally popular they once sold out an arena concert in 1.47 seconds. He left because “they feed you music and you just kinda do it, you don’t have freedom”, and is now releasing his solo debut, which has all the hallmarks of an artist who is still creatively shackled, whether by a language barrier or a lack of original artistry.
Wu has turned away from the selection-box pop of Exo and honed in on a US rap sound, aping the warbling, microdosed delivery of Travis Scott (who guests on Deserve), the triplet time of Quavo, and the croon of Drake in soft-boy mode. There’s nothing theoretically wrong with these simulacra – Wu shouldn’t feel obliged to bring in tangibly Asian sonics to differentiate his work – but his blank boyband voice simply isn’t as characterful as those he’s aping. His mostly English lyrics are hip-hop Huel, a beige stock of cliches and signifiers that becomes embarrassing: the clean-cut Wu is audibly not a “savage”, and his complaint of “suicide when I can’t see my shorty” is crass and stupid.Continue reading...
Fri Nov 02 11:30:27 CET 2018