Hot on the heels of his debut mini album April, And A Flower earlier this year, K-pop starlet Chen is back with six more silky love songs on follow-up record Dear My Dear.
Opener Shall We seems an odd choice for a lead single, given how retro and cheesy it sounds – and not in an endearing way. Chen delivers a schmoozy love ballad that sounds more like karaoke. Despite this major misstep, the singer manages to get back on track by returning to the lush style and arrangements of his debut.
As with that record, the songs here are soft and comforting, with the only real difference being Chen’s focus on acoustic guitar, pushing the piano parts to the background. Amaranth portrays the EXO member’s wistfulness over slow jazz chords, capturing the essence of the album artwork perfectly. Hold You Tight has an acoustic-pop vibe, while You Never Know offers the first real singalong with its “La-la-la” section.
Good Night is the most ambitious track, with rising strings and child choirs echoing beautifully around Chen’s lullaby refrain, “Sleep well/On this night I wish for you to have good dreams,” which is enough to make anyone swoon.