If Lose Control was the R&B side of Lay, Sheep gives us his wilder side.
In our review of Sheep, we said that the song doesn’t work as well as a standalone and it’s true. There is precipitous pop/trap thrust to the bulk of this album and having all the similar sounding tracks (mostly) coming one after another helps set a tone. Nothing sounds exactly like Sheep, but that track does sound a lot better in context. In fact, thanks to the majority of the tracks going for the more pop-rap sound, more pop-R&B songs like I Need U, Hand, Director, and X Back sound a little out of place even though they are solid as standalones.
The dual nature of this album really did require more thought in terms of track sequencing than what seems to have been done here. Making the slower and more R&B-tinged tracks last on the album would have helped with some of the whiplash effect when transitioning between tracks and created more of B-side/cooldown effect.
Lay’s voice makes most of the songs work…even at those moments when his flow is off or he can’t quite make his voice go high enough for some of the flourishes and adlibs. We will give him that he is a much better rapper than we were expecting, but his singing is what really makes him shine and we wish we had gotten more of that this time around.
The lyrics (insofar as we can tell) seem to work for the majority of the tracks. With both Boss and Peach being in English, there was a lot of space for him to mess up and he managed to pull it off. His pronunciation of vowels isn’t perfect but he still manages to get the point across. There also seems to be less bilingual weirdness like what we got on Sheep on the other more Mandarin-based tracks with English inserts.
Our final verdict? Not bad, but not as strong as it could have been. We don’t think anyone will be listening to this album in a year, but it’s fun for now and EXO-L and Lay fans will have something to hold on to.
Our favorite tracks are I Need U, Mask, Peach, and X Back. The most skippable track is Sheep.