Yes! I'm typing! :D I'm feeling a lot better now, so I guess I can go ahead and cheat my way into writing a review, seeing as I don't really get all my points across when I do vlogs. And besides, I wrote three papers last week, and my hand is still alive. I think? That and I'm going through yet another "identity crisis", so to say, and more than anything I need to assure myself that I still actually have the brain to write for myself.
But enough of all my drama.
Even by just skimming through the album, you'll notice two key reasons why I came to that conclusion. First is the emphasis on the melodies. "Emphasis" doesn't necessarily mean volume, it doesn't necessarily mean that the vocal track overpowers everything else -- it's that all the elements are wrapped around the melody. It's kind of like a hamburger. While you have a host of other vegetables, sauces, cheese, and whatever else you want to slap on your burger, the focal point is still the patty, beef or fish or whatever, and all the toppings you put, ideally, compliment the patty proper. The melodies have to be interesting and current, but they also have to be simple enough for people other than Se7en to sing. Why is this important in creating classics? I think I've discussed this in my BEAST review last year, but basically the gist is that the melody is the part of the song which has the ability to transcend time. When people remix, re-arrange, or cover, the element of the song that is kept the closest to the original is the melody. And, it kind of goes without saying, that the melody is the part people remember the most -- when you hum a song, you don't hum the drum line or the string section, you hum the melody. So putting a premium on the melody makes it easier for people to not only cover the songs, but remember it, and pass it on to other people, even after the song's expiry date.
Take that, top it with YG's stunningly strong production and Se7en's very capable vocals, and you get one of the best EPs I've heard in quite a while. It's cohesive, but it doesn't bore you to death either. It's one of the few K-Pop releases that I'd willingly, gladly, play from start to finish over and over and over again.
After listening to the EP for the first time, the song that stuck out the most of me was actually "Angel". And it's still a really gorgeous song, what with just the guitar and piano during the verses, and the slow, but sure, build-up to the slightly intense chorus, which has this really gorgeous string section and those cymbals here and there that add a whole epicness to it. But the more I listened to it, the more the chorus got really boring -- it just goes on and on and over and over again. I adore the thought of the song, because really, it's very simple but it manages to catch your attention, but there's more to music than just the technicality, so I don't adore the song itself. For the 829743892473289th time (and you might be sick of hearing this already), music is half-heard, and half-felt, and "Angel" kinda lacks that as a whole. BUT I wouldn't mind if this was the only song I could listen to for the rest of my life.
"That Person" is the subdued song on the EP. The subdued but slightly epic. There are points which sound really European, especially with the melody itself and the choice of progressions and loops, and it reminds me of something the likes of Darin or Steven Borg would have no problem singing. I adore the drum line, how it's in the background for a lot of the song, but during those random parts where it chooses to appear, it sounds very warm. The melody sounds very clear, but again it sounds very real, and in it sounding real, people get the impression that it's actually humanly possible to sing it, which puts it closer to the audience.
"Understand" is the full-on ballad. It's one of those, "You want a ballad? Here, take this," and BAM you get brilliance. "Understand" is very simple, but it's also very transparent, what you hear is what you get, which, again, makes it perfect for mimicry, which is the beginning of immortalization for a song. This is a no-frills song, a drum line, strings, your usual instruments, under an unassuming, but gorgeous melody. And it's not afraid. Sometimes when you say "ballad" or "simple", people tend to strip off too much, and just vocals and piano *can* get boring after a while. Not everyone can carry a song with just vocals, and while Se7en is probably one of those people who CAN, again, the focus of this album is making classics -- if it's too hard to sing, people will be too scared to try. So while yes, "Understand" is simple, it doesn't skimp on what it shouldn't. You get your simplicity, your bare sound, but you also get your intensity and your character.
At the end of the day, and at the end of the EP, hip-hop/R&B is what YG does best, so it would be a crime not to include a signature YG track on their flagship male solo artist's big comeback. This is prime YG material. And while this can be put beside the likes of "Hot Times" and "Before U Go", which I adore, what YG does miles better than SM is groove. This song has it, and a lot it of at that. Honestly, as much as I think they're gorgeous songs, after hearing "MAKE GOOD LOVE" "Before U Go" and "Hot Times" sound stiff. Why? Because SM overproduces. To them, this is a contest -- who spends the most money making a song, who works with the biggest-named producer, who sells the most. And it shows in the songs. "Before U Go" is extremely packed, in the arrangement, in the choice of instruments, and in the vocal treatment. Everything sounds so heavy. On the other hand, "MAKE GOOD LOVE" sounds light, springy almost. The experience is kind of like degrees of oiliness. Too much oil makes the food really greasy and gives you a stomach ache, compared to lightly-oiled food, which not only keeps your arteries slightly healthier, but also lets you taste things other than grease. It's intense where it has to be,it knows when to go full-steam, but it also knows when to pull back and let us savor it.
A well-deserved 5/5
....and my hand hurts again. I guess this will have to tie everyone over until the end of the month or something, as far as text posts are concerned. But I *will* start working on a new vlog this week! I hope you guys aren't sick of my horrid face yet.