Jan 23, 2015
G.Soul Is Finally "Coming Home"
What an appropriate title for G.Soul's first album, don't you think?
If I'm being completely honest here, which let's be real, I tend to be, G.Soul's mere existence had managed to pass me by. Until I saw the news of him releasing an album I had never heard of him before, but there's actually a good reason why. G.Soul is known for having been with JYP as a trainee for over 10 years, but he has been in the US for quite some time and was actually meant to have his debut over there. When things didn't go as planned he return to South Korea and continued to study music for a few years, and now he's finally released his music. You can even read JYP's tweet about the many hardships he went through to get to where he is now, and understand that this man's solo album has had a long time coming.
As I had no idea who this mysterious person was, I also had no clue as to what music he was going to put out. Many people who commented on the news of his debut said that he might be the one to save JYP or that he was JYP's hidden card, so naturally I was curious. Training for approximately 15 years surely must have paid off in some way or another, so I was pretty confident that guy at least could sing decently, and I was beyond right.
Next up is "Superstar", which takes on another genre of music as it's relies more on the funky bass and guitar. This song is definitely more upbeat and a lot more fun to listen to, but I'm not sure I prefer it more anyhow. Ultimately, it's the chorus that is the highlight of the track, as G.Soul's smooth falsetto vocals take charge and bring it to the next level. His delivery is what makes the song interesting and dynamic, although the song is pretty good on it's own I absolutely think his voice contributes a lot to the overall appeal of it.
"You" is the third track on the album and also served as the album's title. This was the first song of his that I heard, since I watched the MV when it came out, and I was in love with it almost at once. I was struck instantly by his voice, which really is unlike any other, and the way he handled the song so delicately and emotionally all at the same time. As for the music itself, there's no denying that it's most certainly a R&B influenced work, which makes perfect sense because G.Soul was born to sing this kind of music. It's been a while since I heard someone wail this well, and a guy too. Lyrically, it's also quite beautiful yet simplistic, but the combination of music, lyrics and vocals make this song highly rememberable.
Yet another style of music is showcased in next track "First Love", as it has more of a soft pop-rock sound with some retro vibes thrown in as well. I can't pinpoint exactly what it is that this song reminds me of, but it has a fairly similar sound for whatever reason. Musically, it's definitely a pleasant song to jam along to, and although it might be a bit too soft and easy-going for my personal taste it's still not a track you should skip. As for the lyrics; they are actually sadder than what one might think while listening to the seemingly sweet melody. Well, they are a bit bittersweet actually, as it tells the story of reminiscing of the happy days that once were and reliving all the precious memories.
Things really take a turn for the sadder with "Excuses", a song about unrequited love. Yet instead of the usual "I want this person but this person doesn't want me" and so forth, this song deals with the struggles of having to reject someone. Anyone who has been through a similar situation knows that it's equally as heartbreaking crushing someone else's hopes, as the lyrics themselves explain:
"[I] Wish I could love you but I really don't". G.Soul's vocals are again, striking and emotionally involving, and I really like it when he gets to make use of his powerful chest voice. The music is just as dark and depressing as the song's message, especially the background choir filling in with harmonies here and there are chillingly beautiful.
The final song is called "One More Time" and is a more R&B and pop-inspired track, bringing the album to an end in a soft but powerful way. I know those two adjectives are quite contradictory, but hear me out. The tempo of the track is on the slower side, and I guess you could describe it as a mid-tempo ballad in a way, but the way the song is constructed gives it quite a majestic effect. The continuous repetition of the three words as well as G.Soul's harmonizing and vocal layers is impressively well thought out. I'd be the first to admit that this song is far from my general style of music, but I can still appreciate it for being a beautiful finish to the album.
Overall, I'd say this debut was one to remember in the future. As G.Soul has joined new JYP's brand new label J Sound, he is the first one to represent them and showcase the direction it will take: focusing on artists in charge of their own music instead of producing idol groups. I personally think it's well about time, and I'm happy that there's still a big company backing it up because it means that new, talented musicians and singers can become relatively well known and receive proper promotions with loosing their creative spirit. As for G.Soul, I'd say he got the job done almost perfectly. Objectively, this is a great album and it plays on all the strengths he has a a singer-songwriter, but a few of the songs are not ones I would listen to if I could choose freely. Still, it's only my personal opinion because even I can tell that this mini deserves all the praise it can get.