Fountain: Jooyoung’s Serenade
Starship Entertainment soloist Jooyoung is a man full of surprises. Fans are aware of that, especially following his unexpected military enlistment announcement in 2015 after having released sporadic singles here and there since. Now three years later and fresh out of the army, Jooyoung has come back with another surprise: the release of his first mini-album on March 2, titled Fountain.
Jooyoung’s strength lies in his soulful vocals, and Fountain contains six songs that help him showcase the best of his skills. The mini-album rarely veers away from the neo-soul and R&B genres—with a great presence of English lyrics—making it solidly coherent without being boring.
The mini-album opens with “Daydream,” and the song lives up to its name; its minimalistic composition is almost entrancing, and Jooyoung’s lulling voice adds to the dreamy tone of the song. It’s a quiet way to kick off Fountain, and possibly the best. “Daydream” feels like a warm, welcoming introduction to what we can expect from the other five songs and stirs just the right amount of intrigue for us to be hooked.
“Dive,” the following song as well as the title track of the mini-album, is drenched in tenfold the calm and serene aura of “Daydream.” The rhythm is so slow it feels dragged out, but it isn’t a bad thing—it adds to the moody touch of it all, along with the numerous silences or the absence of percussions throughout the song. “Dive” is a very simple track, both musically and lyrically, but it’s also a great example that a song doesn’t have to offer a lot in order to be close to perfect. The music video is just as fragmented and hazy, and we cannot help but be wrapped in wonder while we watch.
We’re still presented with the same peace with the third song, “First,” featuring recently debuted soloist SOLE. “First” is a nice ballad duet, but at that point, we’re craving for a little rhythm. Thankfully, the next track, “Wine,” is the fix we need. It still retains some of the chill vibes of the earlier tracks, but it has a more upbeat rhythm, a brighter melody, and a slightly more complex instrumentalization. G.Soul features on the track; his tone fits seamlessly with Jooyoung’s, making “Wine” one of the best collaborations on Fountain.
“Planet Girl” has one strength that the other tracks do not possess: a rap verse, delivered by none other than pH-1. It gives more depth to the rhythm of the song—which, like the rest of the mini-album, doesn’t steer away from slow and simple—and provides a refreshing touch as the album nears its end.
However, one cannot skip “Fountain,” the eponymous track and by far the most interesting out of the six on the album. The opening drums are intriguing, and the melody only gets more compelling. Jooyoung’s delivery in the song is also the best on the album, varying greatly yet constantly fitting with the backing track. “Fountain” is so wonderfully peculiar, and its odd ending, feeling like it should go on a little longer, is perfect; once “Daydream” loops once more, it’s as though the whole album is one long lullaby for us to enjoy.