First album review of 2015! Does JongHyun deliver an album that didn’t leave a sour taste in my mouth?
Let’s find out!
Deja-Boo (ft Zion T.)
I don’t know if I am into this as an intro song. After listening to the entire album, I think this doesn’t really bring that energy and hype. But I dig it as a track overall. I am not a fan of the second verse however. It wasn’t moving that well with the music, especially near the end. Also I am not really a fan of Zion T. and JongHyun together. I do like that they interacted musically, but I don’t think they mesh well together. Getting past that, I do think this is a good track overall. Even with what I pointed out, I could listen to this and just be okay. I could put this on and not pay attention to it, but have it on repeat because it brings me good feelings. It’s very easy listening
Crazy (Guilty Pleasure)
I don’t appreciate how this song goes. As I pointed out in the music video review/teaser post, the chorus feels super busy but bare at the same time. JongHyun is singing in that falsetto, when I think it should be loud. He is simmering but the song feels bigger than that. Also the music could have been handled better. I love the strings, the piano, the drama that brings, but it’s the other half: the drums…that just don’t mesh well. Iron was the best thing about this. Good for him. Overall, I just wanted bigger from JongHyun.
I have love for this song. I have one complaint about this song, but before I get to that, let me just descibe this song. It starts off as the typical R&B track SM likes to give, but then the chorus kicks in, and it takes this gothic like turn. The choir in the background was a nice touch, although I wish they were louder. This song was almost there for me. I just wanted everything to be a bit bigger. Bigger is not always better, but here I think it could have been. Developing the harmonies could have gave it a bigger than life feel. The choir being louder, and giving them more spotlight musically…Taking that Gothic vibe I was getting and just going all the way with it. This is the same issue I had with Crazy, only Hallelujah gave me a better result.
Love Belt (ft YounHa)
I really wanted them to be two singing ass motherfuckers, but we got another chill as song. I’m not mad at that. I actually really am into this song…but when listening to it here, I found somethings to be picky about. First off, this is one of those songs where Jong’s voice is very hard to digest. I don’t know what is bothering me, but I really am not a fan of his voice on this song. Another issue I had is how they wasted YounHa on this. Yeah, she sounds great, and there was the moment where they were trading lines in the second verse…but then he was doing his own verse again with those obnoxious harmonies. It felt like YounHa was added on at the last minute…like a day before the album was going out to print.
Neon is the musical version of a Warhead candy. It is intentionally hard to fuck with because it is cluttered and seriously trying to not make sense. The key, tempo, melody changes…all on purpose. All chaotic. The worst of it is the throwback to early 2000’s R&B…aka the bridge. Once you hit the end, everything is a bit more cohesive and coherent. But the more you listen to it, you start to hear where it is going. It makes sense the more you listen, not just in listening to the song, but if you were to repeat it, you start to familiarize yourself with the inner works of the song. It makes sense…in its own way. Once again, I would never intentionally listen to this song after this. I refuse. However the song is nice enough. Also JongHyun’s voice shines the most here. Something about how he sung, with the inflections, just makes it so much better.
I don’t think I gave this song much thought in the first few listens of this album. My thoughts have not changed much from the first to this listen; it’s very typical. Sounds very mid to late 2000’s. Very cliche. I don’t even need to read the lyrics to get a clue of what this is talking about.
I am honestly not even mad at this. It’s very easy on the experience, and doesn’t feel pretentious, or like it was trying for something. I also like it as the album finisher. The album does go through a lot, and I think it is for the best that it ended on a much more reserved note. I think all the musical elements were perfect. This is one of the few times the drums didn’t just make me hate everything. Yay! Overall I liked it. I remember listening to it the first few times and not really caring for it, but after so many listens you start to understand why things are there. Beautiful Tonight does its job.
My opinions have changed while listening to this album. First I hated it, then I was over it. By the fifth listen I started to have a more positive outlook on this album. Now…I appreciate it.
I have an appreciation for this album.
The biggest issue is that while the project may have been adventurous that didn’t always show up in the songs. Neon and Mono-Drama were the only two songs that felt like they went big 100%. Of course Deja-Boo, Love Belt and Beautiful Tonight are meant to go big, but they actually achieve that atmosphere they were creating (Even if I was a little nit-picky about somethings). Crazy and Hallelujah suffered from one common problem: they didn’t go hard (Crazy less so than Hallelujah). What’s funny is that both of them had similar vibes in my opinion.
Crazy was bare when it shouldn’t have been. That Gothic, Phantom of The Opera vibe (I’m not saying this is the song, but that is the vibe they seemed to have wanted) was there, but it didn’t mesh well with the more modern *Urban* half. I feel like they used the wrong instruments/sounds for that particular part. And then JongHyun just seemed so restrained. Go big or go home.
Hallelujah was more fleshed out. Just needed to be a little bit grander in certain parts. That choir is drama, bring it to the forefront and let us drown in it. JongHyun’s harmonies needed to be bigger and fuller and louder. Once again this Gothic, dark vibe I was hearing was love, but it was at 80%. Also Hallelujah suffered from not letting parts of the song cook. It felt like everything was moving a little fast, so I never got to just sit there and live in a verse. Even the chorus felt quick.
Still I would give Hallelujah a lot more than I would give Crazy.
While there were some undercooked parts, there were also songs that needed to take a step back and rethink.
Deja Boo and Love Belt are great easy listening songs, aand great additions to the album overall. But I’m super picky and these two had minor issues that seemed to be a result of overcomplicating things. That second verse in Deja-Boo was slightly off. It messed up the groove for a little bit (but it was picked right back up when we got to the chorus). Love Belt had JongHyun doing a lot, while YounHa was doing very little. His call and response thing was too much, and only looked worse when YounHa came in and did the responses on the second verse. But once again it was really minor for some odd reason.
In all of this, it is ironic that the song that I think is the best is intentionally the most overthought, cluttered song that is just…hard to listen to. Neon wins this album for me. It makes sense, but tries not to…in order to make said sense. It’s stupid. It’s wild. On some level it’s fun. I would listen to this song on my own though. I get mad every single time I listen to it.
Overall, Base is okay. Not okay as in “just okay”, as in it’s average and not worth the listen. I mean it’s okay. It really is a decent listen despite all that I had to say about it. This album was a lot, and by a lot I mean they wanted to be artsy and creative at every turn, but it didn’t work out that way on some songs. Yet somehow it worked. The album moved well enough, I liked the drama when it came, and the much needed lack of it when it happened. JongHyun showed diversity in performance when needed. While the features were nice, they didn’t completely work out well, but…still nice to hear Zion T. and YounHa, so I can’t be mad. Overall, it was okay.
Base is nice, and if this is what JongHyun believe’s is a peek into the window of his soul…then well it’s not a bad look.