My favourite solo K-pop artist is back with new music! I always look forward to new releases from Jay Park as rarely has the dude disappointed. Jay put out an awesome English-Korean rap track (appropriately titled) “Appetizer” in February, produced by fellow Art Of Movement crew member and good friend Cha Cha Malone. Needless to say, that was just a teaser to what Jay Park has on the way.
Titled ‘JOAH,’ this is yet another set of releases before Jay Park comes out with his second full-length album. He employed a similar strategy last year before the release of the stellar ‘New Breed’.
Going by the teaser, I figured “Joah” was going to be in the same vein as “Girlfriend” was. And with a title that means “like” in Korean, it was sure to be a sweet tribute to a girl crush. “Joah” is a mid-tempo track with subtle piano keys that keep you swinging in melancholy, or simply bopping your head to the thumping beats. The song isn’t groundbreaking in anyway, and is a reminder the production talents of Jay Park’s friends can be a bit limiting (to some extent). It does feel familiar — but I still ended up liking it after two or three listens.
What I liked more was the music video, filmed in Jay Park’s hometown of Seattle. It’s a refreshing change of scene and literally “out of the box,” if you K-pop MV addicts know what I mean. There isn’t any choreographed dancing either, but no worries, we Jaywalkerz know he has moves in store for his next release
“Joah” is a good listen none the less. Proof that Jay Park, despite his image of body tattoos and overall badass-ery, is just a sweet homeboy at heart. – 3.5/5
The other tracks on this EP include “Welcome” – a sexy bedroom track. Jay just seems to love making slow ballads like this, or it’s just his love for R&B contemporaries like Treyz Songz and the like. Finally we have “1HUNNIT” featuring frequent collaborator Dok2. This sounds like Snoog Dogg track I can’t seem put my finger on (or was it Busta Rhymes?).
Still, with four songs out already, I can’t wait to see what Jay Park has in store for the rest of the year. His contract with SidusHQ ends this year and he’s already stated his crew are filming several music videos for his upcoming album. This could also be Jay Park’s last Korean album for a while as he attempt to crack America next.
Rest assured, 2013 sounds like it could be an exciting year for us fans!
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.
Take your pick
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)
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!
Good job Jay! (Again)
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…
Oh Jay... are MVs your only chance to make out with a girl? You know how many fangirls are dying for the chance?
The acoustic version sounds decent enough, but I’ll take the dance version over it any day.
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.
Not a great album cover... but whatever
After uptempo singles — “Abandoned,” “Tonight” and “Girlfriend” — Jay Park slows things down with his latest single “Star” (별).
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…
Another video, another chance to kiss the girl in the MV. Hmmm, I wonder who comes up with all the ideas for the videos
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
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)