Holland is one of the first debuts of 2018, and he comes with a big
Neverland is a middling tempo R&B song that is likely influenced by the western’s R&B landscape at the moment. I think this has been the best attempt at the modern R&B sound (which is sparse, dim, and intertwined with other genres).
As a black gay man, I am always here for my fellow LGBT artists, especially when they are black and brown (specifically if they are black and brown). Holland’s debut is exciting as it is a no ifs and or buts about it situation. There is no theories or mere allusions to homosexuality. These two fellows kiss in the video. That’s that gay content I am here for. For me as a black westerner Holland’s existence means little other than another artist in the ring to give their perspective. However I hope that his existence can create impact in the industry and community he is obviously targeting (Koreans). If at all, it is just a step forward that he exist.
That being said, I am very underwhelmed by this song. Well less the song and more of him. I am not a fan of how he sings. He isn’t terrible. His voice is deep (points to baritones), and there is something lovely about his voice. It’s the delivery that isn’t breaking it for me. It’s very flat and monotone. It doesn’t ruin the song, but as a solo act where the spotlight is on him solely, I have to focus on what he is offering and how the music is shaped for him. You don’t need great singing skills to make great music, but as enjoying music is a subjective matter, sometimes what you are giving isn’t going to gel with certain listeners for whatever reason. I don’t like his singing voice. What’s worse is that I think the music is actually good and in theory should work for him, yet…this is what we got.
As a gay man I am happy to see actual representation in places even if it has no real effect on me. Somebody will see and hear him and be happy. And even if not, his openness deserves as much to make a profit for his work. However the buck stops there at a pat on the back if I don’t believe in the product. Quite frankly I don’t care for this, which is a shame because I do like the music.
Holland makes his debut with Neverland, available on digital and streaming platforms.