Seungri - "Let's Talk About Love"

Seungri's first EP is one of those albums that I can not only listen to from start to finish without skipping a track, but also one of the few that I would still do so for, years after its release. "VVIP" is a well-rounded, impeccably produced, pop record with stunning pop melodies, an absolute joy to listen to. So my expectations for "Let's Talk About Love" were, quite literally, jumping over hoops and fire high. And boy did I get my jumping over hoops and fire.

Taking off from the "VVIP" reference, the first thing that struck me with "Let's Talk About Love" is how the songs and sounds are more mature, yet still very much Seungri. It's a little Big Bang, a little YG, but very, very clean. The over-all motifs of the two EPs are very different though -- while the production on "VVIP" is very clean, antiseptic almost, and more focused on the homogeneity of the instruments, the production on this new EP is significantly more raw and brings out the individuality of each element. The differences though are more of a growth than a shift -- Seungri has established a clear identity, and so he's free to play around with that identity without fear of wandering. And the result of that play is another fantastic EP.

This growth is most evident in the first tracks of both his EPs. Both intros use band-centric arrangements and "real" instruments like bells and trumpets for "show tuney" sounds, juxtaposed against synth loops and electronic instruments, but while "VVIP" focuses on the electronic, "Let's Talk About Love" is all about the rawness of the contrast. There's a lot going on in "Let's Talk About Love", but it doesn't take much effort to listen closer and identify the elements -- the bell stands out, but so do the synth loop, the bass line, and all the other bits and pieces throughout the song. I don't usually enjoy songs that are mostly rap, but the whole package is so interesting in its depth that I can't skip past it. It's another one of those songs that are entertaining on the surface, but substantial underneath. Everything is audible individually, but when all the instruments are put together in one package, added to the melody, and performed, what you get is a track that is the epitome of the direction this EP takes. It is well-thought through, well-executed, and the final product alone will tell you just how much effort was put into this song.

"Gotta Talk To U" is similar -- it's not my taste as much as some of the other tracks on the EP, but I understand it, and because I understand it I appreciate it. This need for an understanding of the song reminds me of Big Bang's "Blue" -- I couldn't grasp it at a glance, and it took some brain work to understand. And even in terms of the choice of instruments and over-all sound, it is a lot like "Blue", though much more in-your-face, which is where the similarities end. "Gotta Talk To U" is subtle, but not subdued like "Blue", and definitely not lazy. A lot of this brain work is necessary because it's not the melody that carries this song, in fact no one element carries the whole thing. Listening to this requires you to take a step back and listen to everything from the guitar, the weird sci-fi synth loops, to the little explosions here and there. As far as sound goes, the subtlety to the approach goes very well with the "stylish"-sounding choice of instruments -- all the elements sound either very crisp, or, like those sci-fi synths, "futuristic". "Gotta Talk To U" is definitely not something I'll listen to over breakfast at 6 in the morning, but I'd definitely listen to this again, later in the day.

"지지베 GG Be" was the first song that I both genuinely liked and at the same time saw the musical merits of. If the first two songs were more of understanding, this track was fireworks and somersaults all the way. "지지베 GG Be", I think, is that halfway point between "VVIP" and "Let's Talk About Love" -- it's playful and slightly mischievous, and significantly more poppy than most of the album, traits that "VVIP" ran with, but still very much within the sphere of "Let's Talk About Love" in terms of arrangement and execution. I can't imagine this fitting in with the rest of "VVIP", and that's a good thing. The melody is gorgeous, and the dynamics -- explosions, monotony, transitions -- sound so effortless. The electric guitar makes the song slightly gritty, but it's contrasted by the stiff, but graceful piano line. But what surprised me the most was the real drums that seem buried under everything else that's happening -- they give the arrangement that needed kick, and provide a backbone or sorts for all the wild goings on. There are moments where the song goes into "glorious" territory, and I love how it knows when to let those moments loose, but also when to hold back. Jenny's part is stunning, and her rich yet graceful timbre is a good contrast to Seungri's more in-your-face vocals. The scarcity of moments like those are also a big part of what make this an absolute joy to listen to, because there is such a thing as a monotony of explosions. As a whole, "지지베 GG Be" is a confident song that is able to play around without forgetting its foundations -- it knows how to have fun, precisely because it knows exactly what it's doing.

"Come To My" was the other song that I really liked, but more out of personal taste. It's gorgeous in its own way though, and it's not any less masterful than the previous tracks. In fact, it's more like them than I thought it was, because it also plays with contrast. The verses are epic in terms of the instruments -- heavy percussion, a haunting piano line -- but by the time the chorus hits, with the addition of lighter elements as well as that explosion for a transition, the song becomes lively, and the melody is the only element that carries over the epic quality of the verse. The melody is gorgeous, but it's that short part at the very beginning of the chorus, where everything explodes, that fuses everything and makes the whole song subdued, but hauntingly gorgeous.

"You Hoooo!!!" continues that nonchalant quality that "Come To My" and "Gotta Talk To U" also had. It's not quite subdued, not quite subtle or sublime -- it's more like an effortlessness that translates directly into the performance. And if anything, "You Hoooo!!!" as a whole is comfortably far from being subdued. The chorus had the potential to be boring because of the lack of a strong melodic presence, but doesn't turn into bad monotonous because of the arrangement, and the execution. The verses have that strong melodic presence, at times becoming overwhelming, and it's the chorus that allows for some breathing room to digest, as well as become a bridge for, the rest of the chaos. "You Hoooo!!!" as a whole, I think, is actually a bridge -- it's not a filler track because it can hold its own against the other songs, but it's best appreciated in relation to the rest of the album.

"Love Box" is so deceivingly pretty I love it. On the surface it's all quaint and gentle, but it's so misleading because this song has just as much dimension as the rest of the EP. The nature of the piano gives the song warmth, but the actual notes it plays, that matches up to that gorgeous trumpet line, gives it character and adds another dimension to the rest of the arrangement. The melody is gorgeous -- with just the right amount of straining and pushing to balance the gentle sounds behind it. The arrangement as a whole is actually very tight for such a relaxed song, but in a sense it's the careful attention to the sounds and the behavior of the instruments that makes this such an effortless, tempered song, and that prevents it from becoming lazy.

I may not personally like half of the songs, but there's no denying that "Let's Talk About Love" is a solid, well-done EP whose songs are just as good together as they are apart. There is cohesion both within the album and in relation to Seungri's first EP, "VVIP", but there is also difference. "Let's Talk About Love" is a natural, but very much obvious growth and maturity in the material, that makes for a fresh, new, and very much interesting listen.

4.7/5

2 comments:

  1. I agree! :D Loved it <3 Loved G-Dragon's rap in 'Let's Talk About Love'~ 'sowoneul malhaebwa!'Did anyone else notice that?

    ReplyDelete
  2. He's the gem within Big Bang. (Sorry GD and Taeyang)

    ReplyDelete

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