Here I go again — new music from Jay Park baby! What began with the digital single “Girl Friend” last year, was then followed by volume 1 of ‘New Breed’ in December, and is now complete with the release Jay Park’s first full album.
The track-list for ‘New Breed‘ goes as such:
01. NEW BREED (INTRO)
02. Know Your Name
03. Girl Friend
04. Up And Down
05. I Love You
07. I Got Your Back
08. 별 (Star)
09. 놀러와 (Come On Over)
10. 전화기를 꺼놔 (Turn Off Your Phone)
11. 너 없이 안돼 (Can’t Live Without You) [Acoustic ver.]
13. Enjoy The Show
14. 훅 갔어 (Wasted)
Out of the above, I’ve already dedicated one entire post for “Girl Friend,” and my ‘New Breed: Vol. 1’ review covers “Star,” “Enjoy the Show,” “Up and Down” “Can’t Live Without You” and “I Got your Back,” so I won’t be rehashing the same text here again.
Instead, here’s a review of the remaining songs:
01. “New Breed (Intro)” – The album kicks off with a lyrically hard-hitting rap track with Jay Park telling you he ain’t gonna ‘play the game’ in this business. He’s going to give you the “real shit” whether you like it or not! Ha ha, sure why not? – 3/5
02. “Know Your Name” – The lead single for this promotion cycle:
Produced by Da Beat Freakz, the New York-based production duo also behind “Girl Friend” as well, “Know Your Name” is a killer dance track. The song manages to get the right of mix Euro-pop and R&B, without ever sounding too much like any one genre. It’s a great record and makes for a perfect single! But I would love to hear the English version as the music is better suited for it, as I’m sure it was originally intended.
As for the MV, it’s a return to fast paced dancing and choreography by Andrew Baterina – one can tell, because some of the moves look recycled (something I’ve critiqued before). Other than that, the music video looks slick and props to Jay for featuring a black girl! 😉
My rating for “Know Your Name” – 4.5/5
05. “I Love You” Feat. Dynamic Duo – Oh. My. God. I was smiling as soon as Jay began singing his first verse. It’s such a good song! The beats, the melody, the chorus — it’s just lovely. The rap from my favourite Korean hip-hop group, Dynamic Duo, is awesome and I couldn’t move on to the other tracks because I had this on replay for near half-an-hour! The only flaw I found in this song is Jay’s vocals when he attempts to sustain a high pitch. Still, I’m going to give it a 5/5 anyway!
Edit: Even after a few hours of pushing this review live, I just can’t stop listening to this track! I hope Jay Park and SidusHQ consider it for a second single, it deserves to be! In my head I kept picturing the MV to feature intricate dance choreography, minimalistic colours (mostly black & white) — and for some goddamn reason, Hyoyeon as the female lead, dancing with Jay. Gosh, I’m such a SONE!
06. “Go” – A slow-paced track with the audio production made to sound as if it’s going in loops. Very listenable none the less and great vocals from Jay on this one. – 3.5/5
09. “놀러와 (Come On Over)” – I listened to this song right after “Go,” and I couldn’t help but find it a bit similar. Sure, this is an even slower track and Jay Park sings it in a mellow falsetto for much of the song. Quite sexy and atmospheric R&B – I love it! – 4/5
10. “전화기를 꺼놔 (Turn Off Your Phone)” – Smooth, sexy R&B territory again. Jay Park has surely shown his more mature side and makes no qualms about writing ‘bedroom music’ 🙂 – 3/5
12. “Aom&1llionaire” – A song dedicated to Jay Park’s frequent collaborators. AOM are of course, Art of Movement, the B-boy dance crew Jay Park is a part of. And 1llionaire are the South Korean hip-hop record company that rappers The Quiett and Dok 2 are a part of — both of whom have been featured on many of Jay Park’s songs. Expectantly, it’s a pure rap song, and it’s alright, but I doubt I’ll be listening it too often on album replays. – 2.5/5
14. “훅 갔어 (Wasted)” – Okay, knowing how up their asses MOGEF are, this song may end up getting banned. Why? Because it’s about drinking alcohol — and lots of it. Chugging, shots and eventually getting ‘wasted’. I don’t know if Jay even drinks like that for real but this song is again, pure rap and has a bit of a spooky vibe to it. But I kinda like it! – 3/5
15. “Clap” Feat. Tiger JK & Tasha – The final track, and by the end of this album, you must have realized Jay Park is now striving to be a hip-hop star more than a pop idol. Featuring Korean hip-hop legends Tiger JK & Tasha (Yoon Mi-rae) – who are husband and wife in real life – the last song on New Breed is meant for a live experience. – 3/5
I don’t think it’s going to be fair compare ‘New Breed‘ to ‘Take a Deeper Look’. While mini-album TADL was a good ‘first attempt’ for a newly solo artist, that too one who did a lot of the work himself with an amateur production team, New Breed on the other hand is much more than just a slight improvement. Listening to the album in its entirety, it’s simply too good! Perfectly crafted, excellent production value, and the least formulaic. It’s one among the few K-pop albums I’ve reviewed where I didn’t use the word “filler” to describe a song. Only albums from 2AM, Block B, and Wonder Girls come to my mind in terms of such quality.
I didn’t feel Jay Park was really himself on songs like “Tonight,” which seemed like pure fan-service. ‘New Breed’ on the other hand is a clever message to the K-pop scene. This former boyband idol is spearheading a new breed of idol singers in the Korean market by showing the industry what he really likes to do musically, no strings attached. This album is just quality music with a difference. From start to finish, there’s hardly any song I would skip out of pure boredom or hate. And the fact Jay Park wrote most of the songs just reinstates the faith I have in his talents!
And talk about value for your money – 15 different songs in one album! Sure, haters will argue Jay made money selling “Girl Friend” and half of this album digitally in Korea, but given how global K-pop has become (and Jay Park’s own fanbase), there are still going to be enough takers for this complete release now that it’s available on iTunes. Plus, only now can you purchase a physical copy of the album — which is what I’m going to do. Screw mp3, this album is a collector’s item! ‘New Breed‘ is probably going to be Jay Park’s last Korean release before he begins work on his English debut.
All said and done, Jay Park is taking a step-by-step approach to international super-stardom. He hasn’t taken a misstep yet, and I hope he still retains creative control when he debuts in America. I’ll be hella disappointed if he ends up doing cheap Euro-trash dance pop like the rest of America’s popstars these days.
Even if he is forced to by his label, I can always pop in ‘New Breed’ and remind myself how good Jay Park really is!
P.S: I’m aware of the fact Jay Park also released an acoustic version of “Know Your Name”. I didn’t really review it because it’s more a promotion for a cellphone brand. That said…
The acoustic version sounds decent enough, but I’ll take the dance version over it any day.
My other posts on Jay Park: