An album review!!!! Woo!
This was supposed to be the 100th post, but…Zico happened. So we don’t get to celebrate on here.
With all that being said, let’s talk about the music.
To. AM (For You)
I love this as the intro. I can’t think of anything else that would have worked. It has a very old school vibe to it. Even though they are old school in a newer sense. Boyz II Men is what I get when listening to this. The harmonies are lovely, and the focus musically. I think it speaks to the kind of group 2AM is (which can be good and bad), and sets the bar pretty high for the album.
Days Like Today
This song makes so much more sense on the album. I said I wasn’t fond of it as a single (and thankfully it isn’t, but in comparison to Over The Destiny…I like it more). JYP has a talent for making me appreciate his songs in comparison to others. Days Like Today isn’t noticeably exciting, but it’s easy to rock with. It’s very JYP in sound. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. I think with 2AM it can provide that nice smooth alternative to the usual ballad. Days Like Today really didn’t bring much to the table outside of being a nice filler.
Over The Destiny
Like I said before, it’s predictable for them and really K Pop overall. It’s a ballad meant to pull on the heart strings, and sounds like several Korean Ballads before it. Simmering on the verses (Seulong and Jinwoon), and then big voice chorus (Jo Kwon and Changmin), all the while maintaining a level of angst.They sound great, and I don’t hate it. But I am resisting the urge to move on musically because we have heard this several times over, and it can only do so much. I do want to highlight Seulong’s lil run on the bridge. It was nice, but that’s it.
There is something about the beat that feels more interesting than it actually is. I feel like it is a slight ode to snap of the mid 2000’s. Maybe I am just over thinking things. Under everything there is a potential song I could have fucked with musically. Remove the violins, up the harmonies just a little, and have them sing with a little more oomph. It could have been a cliche ballad, but it would have been better. The way it is has some oomph to it, but I don’t know. It doesn’t completely capture me the way I want it to.
I always hate when the percussion being too prominent. I don’t know why. It’s such a thing in K pop, especially on the dramatic ballads that’s supposed to be a little “rhythmic”. I do wish they would have made the harmonies louder, and pushed the drums back. It sounds great on the chorus where there is more to experience. They also ain’t sanging the way I want them. They pop off a little at the end, but that’s the end. Everyone and their mom pops off at the end of a K Pop song. You start strong and end strong. Here they just go through it hoping the sad lyrics will be enough.
Something with a little more oomph. Remember what I said about drumkit being used to express something rhythmic? This is a clear case. However, I am not bothered because not a lot is going on. This sounds like a JYP song. That pre chorus though. It’s something in that phrasing that just…stuck. I think it is rare to do interesting things musically, especially in one song. It can be so one dimensional in my opinion, with any major moments happening near the end (with a key change to make it sound…dramatic/dynamic). Of course that happens here, but that small change in that particular moment made the song a little more interesting for me.
I’m going to give this the title as my favorite 2AM track off the album. It’s much more fun/dynamic/anything I wanted from this album. Outside of that damn drumkit, I don’t have another negative. I think this song does everything I really wanted them to do on this album. It’s a bit of diversity. It’s fun. They singing like they got shit to handle. I love it. The song is the little bit of energy we were not getting, and I am upset it took this long to get here…but I am glad it did happen.
Another…ballad. I know 2AM is a ballad group, but can we please…like move on. And there are them drums. It’s so…it’s grating to hear them. There was that moment in the song (around 1:26 for reference point), where it does something and I thought we were about to get turnt, instead we go on, and I am left a little miffed that this doesn’t symbolize some massive change musically. It’s another ballad.
This song feels very late 50-60’s inspired musically. Vocally we get something more recent. Combine that it’s something very Boyz II Men in my opinion (the chorus would be a little bigger, but you get what I am saying). Love for the harmonies. They sound great. I don’t think I have a problem with their performances at all. Here they shine a little more. I do wish they went there vocally. Like went to church, but it didn’t happen. Still this is another example of stretching their limits. Of course it’s a ballad, but it doesn’t feel like the rest of them on this album.
****Now that was the first half which was group songs…now we move on to solo songs.****
You’re Mine (Changmin Solo)
We finally get something less ballady, and more fun. I can rock with it to be honest. It’s so fun in the spring/summer. It’s really relaxing. I like it. Nothing really pops at first. Changmin sounds great as expected, but he doesn’t really go to church vocally. I think if he had come at the end and sung the hell out of that, I would praise it more. But he not about that life, so we get something cute.
Dance (Jo Kwon)
Outside of 2AM, Jo Kwon is obviously made to make club music. He brings the flavor I would only expect from him. I do wish the chorus felt bigger. A little harmonies, some layering in the music. Something to make it sound bigger, grander. Just a little something. Still this is everything I expect from Jo Kwon to be honest. I wish it was a tad bigger soundwise. It would have been perfect for Jo Kwon. Still, I think this is the best track on the album, and I have yet to hear the rest.
Preparation (Jinwoon solo)
Jinwoon is the rocker, so his offering is rock inspired. I…like it. I am not a rock fan, so I can’t tell you where this goes. But I do like it. I was swaying to it. I kind of want to hear Jinwoon do one of them power ballads now. Everything about this feels right for me. It’s kind of cliche in sound (I feel like I point to several mainstream rock songs that have this same sound), but I don’t hate it. It works. Then the final chorus gives me something bigger and I wish it went on a little bit more. K Pop songs are bad in my opinion for making a moment, but then not relishing in it. How many times have I said that so and so shong should have went on a little more to fully deliver??? I think the one thing that I have a complaint about is how his vocals on the chorus sound.
Let me just tell y’all…I had written several dirty openings for this part….but decided to keep it very cute for the kids. Seulong might have one out of the four solos (which is tough considering none of them are bad).. I love it. The song is very simple. Nothing you have to search for sound wise. Everything is pretty much laid out for you. Instead you get to focused on Seulong cooing. It reminds me of a couple songs (Cupid by 112, something by Babyface…I don’t know). I can tell you I love Cupid by 112, and if 2AM ever covered it I would sell my soul to be their in the closet lover. If there is one thing I wish would have been different…the piano break. It comes in at a perfect moment, and acts like the bridge…and I love it. The issue is I wish the piano would have been implimented after that. Like add it into the final chorus. It was an element added, and then taken away when it could have given that part just the right punch to end on. The song is still good. And it ends just right in my opinion. Nothing flashy, just simply restating and letting it taper off.
****I’m missing one song, so i can’t really finish the album review…but it was jsut for the physical copy…****
Let’s Talk was alright. Disregarding all that I had to bring up, you have an album that moves properly (a rarity for me), nothing is glaring in sound (sans the solos, but I think they are a special case), none of the ballads really blended together or sounded the same. Lastly we get a group of talent used better than the average group.
That being said…
2AM has a lot of potential that can extend beyond ballads. Understanding that 2AM are supposed to be the polar opposites of the wild/beastly idols 2PM (who haven’t been beastly for a minute), it cannot be hard to play on the idea of them being a vocal group rather than just a ballad group.
I am not saying for them to pull out full blown choreography and some electronic dance tracks. But what I have noticed in some of their music is the lack of overall diversity in music. Having different ballads does not count. That just makes listening to the same type of song a little more bearable. It’s like painting with only blue in different shades, and maybe two or three different colors (two purples, and a yellow). I know for some that doesn’t seem to be a problem, it can still be a beautiful project…but…2AM/JYP/Whomever else was involved gave us the solos.
In a solo realm, we get to see what/where these guys are comfortable. Changmin gave us a cute midtempo pop song about a sexy lady. Jo Kwon became a dancing God. Jinwoon is two steps from making a power ballad (I really want that). Seulong out here getting panties wet. We get to see the variety that truly lies within the group, which of course is such a different thring. 2AM as an entity is of course going to be different from Changmin, Jo Kwon, Jinwoon and Seulong. However I wish that variety that we see within the members was applied to the group.
A diverse album in songs would have been great. I was over the moon when I heard All Right. It wasn’t a ballad (at least by Korean/whatever else standards), it was fun, and I am sure the lyrics were less depressing. Days Like Today may have not been the greatest song ever, but it was a early relief to what would happen later.
What’s sad is that 2AM can handle songs that are not 78 bpm. Uptempos do exist in their discography. Pop songs exist. Not even just that, but more diversity in genres. In their solos alone we got four different musical genres (pop, dance/electronic, rock, R&B). Why can’t 2AM give us that? Give us more. K Pop has been on such a genre mixing kick as of last year, why not play with 2AM?
Let’s Talk is an okay album. I am not thrilled by it overall. It paints 2AM in such a narrow light, the light they have been dealt with since the beginning. Of course they are a ballad group, but it wouldn’t hurt to shed that and see what else they can do. The best songs are toward the end, where each member gets to be in their own space and comfortably slay. I wish the diversity and thrill that was on these solos would have been in the 2AM portion of the album. There were some good marks in the beginning, but as the album progressed, I found myself wanting the next song to come just to see if there was something different. And it wasn’t. By the end I wasn’t moved like I wanted to be.
If you are looking for an album that isn’t bad, but sticks to the status quo, then Let’s Talk is for you. Otherwise any sort of diversity musically is minimal, or towards the end.