Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Breed Part 1 Review By NJH

The reason that Take a Deeper Look (aka TADL) gathered so much attention was not because of the name value of "Jay Park the idol". TADL was an album that contained a trendy R&B hip-hop color that was hard to meet in the Korean mainstream music market, and an album that most clearly showed the "winning streak" of the current global mainstream music market than any other. Of course, various opinions existed on this subject. There were cynical remarks about the album's tendency to copy the American sound, and downgrading comments that claimed it was obvious because of his American influence. However, instead of laying down long and boring excuses, Jay Park broke through these negative views with his music. "Girlfriend" and "Demon", the two singles released after TADL are the exact evidences: both songs exhibited outstanding perfectionism and succeeded in burying the negative criticism about him.

In reality, there are three paths in which a former member of an idol group takes after becoming a solo. First is to become an entertainer: they choose to shine their faces in various genres and succeed as an entertainer, rather than pursuing their career as a singer. They may gain support from various places in a short time, but it may not have the brightest future in the long run. Second is to continue on the path of a singer using the hit code that worked during the idol group days. This, again, may be easy to gain popularity in that they would have a friendly image to appeal to the public, but will have difficulties in the continuity of the career. The third is to place weight on the musical side, do the music that they couldn't do when they were an idol and construct a confident career path.

This was done by Justin Timberlake from N'Sync, George Michaels from Wham! and Robbie Williams from Take That. The similarities of the three? They left a big impression in the market as male musicians with strong originalities and getting rid of their "idol star" suffix. It wasn't an easy challenge, but the fruit of it was sweet. Looking back at the facts listed above, the critical turning point that Jay Park chose may be in the same direction as these exceptional artists.

The new album, New Breed Part 1, follows the direction that Jay Park has shown so far. With the trendy R&B and hip-hop as the background, he made possible the realization of the potential of mainstream K-Pop in this work. "Star", created by Korea's most talented R&B composer, JunGoon, became an issue due to its motive, which came from Se7en and Park Han-Byul's love story - but what caught my eyes more was the skill of Jay Park to perfectly digest the slow jam feel of the song. It is definitely not easy to lead a fluent R&B track. It is also not easy to come out with a genre that is rare in Korea and make it into one's own style. But Jay Park accomplishes it with a strong will. A deeply sensational voice that strictly removes excess emotions; listeners can do nothing but trust his musical skills. "Up and Down", an upbeat R&B/hip-hop number, and the macho, energetic hip-hop "Enjoy the Show", are both excellent hip-hop tracks but the writer focused mostly on "I Got You Back", because it appropriately harmonies a K-Pop-like melody and an American trend. The melody of the song evidently portrays a typical, comfortable groove of K-Pop. But its beats and the organization reminds us of major artists like Ne-Yo and Chris Brown. This is an area that the K-Pop artists who debut in global music markets, as throwing away our style completely will only lead to assimilation. In contrast, if we keep our style too much, it will be hard to gain support. "I Got You Back" seems to suggest the most ideal ratio to the K-Pop songs.

Jay Park is an artist that one naturally learns to trust, without him having to say "Count on Me." He is impressing the listeners with endless improvements, and his perfect understanding of the insight on musical trends is increasing his potential. New Breed Part 1 is the one shot that increases the concentration of one's trust (for him). He is ready to become the "Bestie" of the general public.
Noh Jun-Young (Music Critic)


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