Lee Gikwang - One

 
 

Release Date: September 4th, 2017
Label: Around Us Entertainment
Genre: Hip Hop/R&B
Length: 7 Songs/22:50


 

01. What You Like {10/10} 
"What You Like" is the title track off of this mini-album, and you can check out my full review of it here. Overall, I really enjoyed this song and it's probably the best track to get somebody interested in listening to the rest of this mini.

02. One {8/10}
"One" is the track that the entire album is named after, which makes it surprising to me that it also isn't the title track. There's a heavy emphasis on drums, piano, and that consistent clapping on beat. The song still brings that blend of hip-hop into the song with some very brief rap sections and some standard background vocals. The chorus shifts things up slightly by changing out the piano for a softer-hitting keyboard while Gikwang sings how "you're the only one." All in all, it's a good song that's able to slow things down a notch and trade out that poppy sound for one that's got a little more emotion to it. 

03. 오해해 {9/10}
This is a slower R&B styled song, but it keeps a heavy, trap-styled drumbeat underneath the softer guitar. The guitar riff is simplistic and plays backseat to the quietly sung lyrics. It's not an insult, it adds a very specific type of vibe to the song that I think is really interesting. There's some really dramatic bass happening in the song during the chorus that feels like something out of a horror movie, but again, I think that's a really interesting feature in the song. This song is very simplistic in terms of what all is happening in it, but the extra space is used phenomenally. 

04. 꿈 (Feat. 승연 (Luizy)) {7.5/10} ▼
The title of the song translates to "Dream" in English, and I think that the instrumental choices absolutely fit that concept. The drowned out synth adds a floaty sound and there's some kind of synthesized harp chiming occasionally in the background to double up on that dreamy sound. Luizy's part comes at a fairly expected latter half of the song, and provides a rap to break the monotony for a segment. I like the relaxing nature of the song, but there's a bit too much of the same presented throughout the song for me to enjoy it too much.

05. Look at Me Now {8/10}
"Look At Me Now" is another song that relies heavily on the drums and synthesizer. This time around, we're given softer, higher-pitched vocals over a low bass, with foggy synth chords and drums pushing the song forward. There's a buildup of and piano that occurs during the second verse, but it ends up fading straight back out in just as smooth a manner. The bridge sees the return of the piano notes just before a final chorus where it disappears once again. If it wasn't clear, I enjoyed the rare use of the piano and thought it was an interesting choice to leave the song's use of instruments at a minimal. 

06. Trick (Feat. 릴보이) {9.5/10} ▲
The song opens up and hits you with the "G R Boy" introduction to let you know that Giriboy produced the track, and if that doesn't get you excited I don't know what to say. "Trick" starts off with a ton of emptiness, with just a few synth notes going for a bit before we even get some drum fills. Then we get a really awesome pre-chorus buildup, with a fast clapping coming in and the escalating pitch of electronic noise leading us right into the chorus, which is where this song really comes together. The refrain slaps you with high-pitched noises on all sides, accompanied by the full sound of the drums and chorus that were nearly empty throughout the verse. Gikwang sings "Yeah you got a trick" under god knows how many filters, but the sound blends in perfectly among the crowded instruments.

This song is probably the biggest departure from the rest of the album, delving much further into the hip hop side of sounds than any of the other tracks. Lil Boi's rap overlaying that same pre-chorus buildup sounds incredible, and ends the song with an adrenaline-pumping climax, and left me coming back for me. While I do think that technically speaking "What You Like" is the better song, I think "Trick" just barely edges over it for me in terms of a favorite.

07. Only U {8/10}
The last song on the album starts off with a somewhat somber piano bit, a bass and muffled guitar joining it shortly after before Gikwang starts to sing softly over them. "Only U" is a slower song that still somehow manages to capture an energy that's found on the rest of the album. Gikwang's vocals during the chorus make you feel like you're riding a wave, and I personally didn't want to get off. All of the instrumentals are toned down just a notch here aside from the drums. It makes the song feel final, like it definitely feels like the album closer, but it was one that left me wanting to listen to the whole thing all over again. 

 
 

▲ = Favorite song on the album
▼ = Least fav. song on the album

 

 

Summary
Gikwang's One album is incredibly solid. There are no bad tracks on the album in my opinion, and I think that if you're a fan of R&B you owe it to yourself to check out this album in full. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this from start to finish, and I seriously can't wait to see what all Giwkang, as well as the other boys of Highlight, have coming down the line.

Overall Score: 8.5/10