Just when you thought I could take a break from writing k-pop reviews at the end of year, my favourite k-pop solo artist decides to push out one half of his new album. Still… I’m not going to complain. New music from Jay Park, yay!
It was only last month that Jay released the digital single “Girlfriend,” but now the burgeoning global star is set to release his first full album. Well, in two halves that is.
The song is a smooth ballad, but being a Jay Park single, still features some choreographed dancing. “Star” didn’t win me over instantly but the song slowly grew on me after repeated listens. It’s got a nice chorus, and Jay’s vocals are fine… except when he attempts the high notes during the bridge – it felt stressed, and shows his limits as a singer in some ways. Jay Park’s a good singer, no doubt, but he’s just a not a power singer.
The choreography is alright – but I do wish Jay would work with choreographers other than his own friends. The moves often resemble dances from past performances. I know Jay likes to help and support his crew and all, but I would like to see something radically different for a change.
As for the video…
The MV for “Star” looks like it was filmed by the same production crew that worked on “Girlfriend,” because both videos have the same polish. I’m not really feeling Jay’s mohawk, it looks too big a cut for his head. Then again, I’m a straight guy who cares little for fashion– why should I nitpick about his appearance right?
“Star” may not be a stand out single like “Abandoned” was, but considering there is surely another single coming early 2012, I’m sure Jay chose this song to showcase his diversity as an artist as supposed to something we know we are used to hearing from Jay Park. My rating: 3/5
Here’s a mini-review of the rest of the tracks on the mini-album:
2. “Enjoy The Show” (Feat. Dok2 & The Quiett) – As “Star” ends and track 2 begins, as soon as you hear the first “mother fucker,” you know Jay doesn’t give a shit about being a mainstream popstar! This song is easily my favourite track on the mini-album! Loved it on first listen, especially when the chorus kicked in: “nyah-nyana-nah-nah”. Ha-ha-ha… who has ever used that in a song properly?! And I know damn sure that’s going to turn into a fan chant when this song is performed live. Imagine how funny it would sound! Of course, aside from the taunt, Jay Park proves he’s such a 2NE1 fanboy with the clever inclusion of the “I Am the Best” line in Dok2′s rap. – 4/5
3. “Up And Down” (Feat. Dok2) – Another track featuring Jay Park’s favourite rap collaborator Dok2, track 3 is an electro-pop dance song. Good track, but as soon as I saw the song title I somehow knew the lyrics to match “up and down” were not going to be the most original. – 3.5/5
4. “I Got Your Back” – A very American-sounding R&B track, so if I were to wager a guess — this was written in English first? (Heck, for all I know, Jay writes all his songs in English first) The vocals are smooth, the chorus is cute, and the tempo is maintained throughout. – 3/5
5. “Can’t Live Without You” – If this song sounds familiar, it’s because this is just an acoustic version of track 3 from Jay Park’s ‘Take A Deeper Look‘. I actually prefer this version and his vocals sound better in this recording – something I felt was amiss when I reviewed that album earlier this year. – 3/5
If this was Jay Park’s way of teasing us fans with what’s coming in 2012, he’s done a mighty fine job of whetting our appetites. “Star” may not be a favourite of mine, but just like “Girlfriend,” I don’t see Jay promoting it a hell lot. This being the year end and everybody taking a break, Jay’s definitely got a better uptempo single in store to lead the latter half of New Breed‘s full release next year.
‘New Breed’ may be Jay Park’s last Korean release for a while as he did mention that 2012 will see him begin work on an English album (now that he is signed to Universal Music Group). ’New Breed: Part 1′ is a sign that Jay Park is slowly gearing up for greater success as an international star. The production quality on this album is few notches higher than it was on TADL, and I just can’t wait to hear the tracks on ‘New Breed: Part 2′. Don’t make us wait too long Jay!
My final rating for ‘New Breed: Part 1′ – 3.5 out of 5 (Good)
Update 07/02/2011: ‘New Breed’ the full album is out! My review of the other tracks can be found here: Jay Park – ‘New Breed’ full album review: Quality and value like no other in K-pop!