Jang Woo Young - BYE

 
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Release Date: January 15th, 2018
Label: JYP Entertainment
Genre: Dance/Pop/R&B/Folk/Rap/Hip-Hop
Length: 7 Songs/23:09


 

01. I like {7/10}
This whole song is more Hip-Hop/Rap than anything else on the album. It has a more classic style of hip-hop vibe to it all with a majority of the instrumentals lying on a more simplistic and easy to follow pattern. The flows aren’t overly intricate or complicated, but they go well with the beat and come off as competent. There’s a distinct lack of aggressiveness to this song on the whole and instead the entirety of this track feels more like a dreamy, idealistic drive through the night. This isn’t really my style of song personally, so I didn’t care much for it, but I think it’s just fine as the first song on the album.

02. 뚝 (Quit) {9.5/10}
The title track for this album, and much more folk-centric than I was expecting for it to be. It shows off some velvety falsetto coupled with that infectious whistle and raw acoustic guitar, all of which melt together into a fantastic blend of beautiful authenticity. The first half of this song is missing percussion of any kind, which was certainly an interesting decision that turned out well, and I love that even when they do get introduced it’s such a subtle touch that you can really feel it rather than hear it. The bridge section has that nice tumbling of notes instead of chords, and then our final refrain is just a clean pitch change. The ending of the song could have been just a tad bit stronger for me, but all in all this song is so genuine that I couldn’t help but love it.

03. Don’t act {8/10}
This song has some of the best flashes of Jang Woo Young’s vocals that I can think of in recent memory. There’s an interesting mix of sounds and ideas going on in this song, and frankly there are a few times where it felt like things kind of got lost in the mix. There’s an interesting mix of both singing and rapping here, but there are definitely points where they feel quite a bit disjointed from one another. There are a couple of abrupt shifts in pace and sound that it felt a little disorienting, but when you pull out from the zooms of those individual sections and view it on the whole, things are a more coherent than they might initially seem. There are still a couple of parts that just felt they weren’t threaded in properly, but for the most part, the song works.

04. 맘껏 (Whatever) {7.5/10} 
This song has a much heavier synth focus than any of the tracks preceding it, but there’s also a generally bouncy groove that’s funkier than what we’d gotten until this point. It acts as a great midway point through the album - setting our expectations for a lot more high-energy and impacting styles to come. Past that, it’s just a fun, upbeat jam. I do wish that the instrumentals had a little more variation to them overall, as it does get just a tad tiresome by the end of the track, but it isn’t to a degree that it becomes grating or tiring.

05. 얘들아 (Hey) {9/10} 
Those funky overtones carry over into this song, though they take the form of fast-paced guitar licks, ascending bass grooves, and histrionic horns. That great energy also worms its way over, and this song is just such a lively piece that you instantly feel invigorated. There is the brief slowing of pace for the second verse, but that really only serves as a quick break and variation to keep things feeling dynamic before we jump right back into the adrenaline-pumping, boisterousness that the rest of the song dishes out. I love the vibe of these types of songs, and while there are definitely some parts that are slightly too noisy for me personally, it didn’t matter enough to stop me from placing this as one of my favorites on the album.

06. Party Shots {9.5/10} 
If you haven't checked out my full thoughts on "Look" already, you can see my review here. Long story short, I really enjoyed this song, and even though it was a simple shift from its original Japanese version, it was a great addition to this album.

07. Going Going {8.5/10} 
As the final track on this album, I absolutely loved how the note that it ended everything on. It’s like a culmination of ideas from each of the previous tracks all placed into one final song. It’s got edges of groove, tints of Hip-Hop, vocals that hit softer as well as harder, and a consistent base that it never strays too far from. It has a good throwback kind of sound overall with the instrumental choices, and I feel like having things close out on a rather positive note was a great choice. This is the exact type of song that has you wanting to hit replay to start the album all over again and to keep on looping it.

 
 

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

 

Summary
It shouldn’t be a shock to anybody that Jang Woo Young is a talented, capable artist that’s branched out into an array of genres with competence and, at least seemingly, ease. This album is absolutely a testament to his adaptability and prowess, and it can also be a great starting point for newer fans to jump in and see why 2PM on the whole is still such a powerhouse force in the K-pop scene today. The album itself has a nice sense of harmony between tracks while still diverging them all fairly far apart from one another, and it also just flows smoothly from one track to the next. It’s a solid album with a great selection of genres and ideas.

Overall Score: 8.5/10