Give it to ’em one last time, Bling Bling!
As much as we lamented his passing when we watched his new video, Jonghyun posthumous album is going to be on repeat for a minute with us and it’s entirely due to the fact that this is ranking right up there with Base when it comes to cohesion and pure aural goodness.
One of the things that we noticed with a lot of the productions on this album is that songs rarely when where we expected. When we though the beat was going to drop, he held it of for another couple of bars; when we thought he was going to come with intense high note, he came with the mellow rumble. And the whole project is steeped in a happiness that we just didn’t expect. Even though the album is rooted in R&B, there are a plethora of dance elements sprinkled over many of the tracks that urge you to the dancefloor and beg you to offer yourself up to the rhythms. And it’s not a one-note kind of thing either; there are elements of deep house, assiko (forgive us if we got the African genre wrong), and microhouse. The thing is, those more enthusiastic sounds are balanced out by poppy ballads and funky cuts that just hit you with just how well crafted they are. Even our least favorite track still works and is completely vibeable by any standard and will still end up on our digital players and phones.
The other major takeaway from this album is just how joyful it sounds. While we were never expecting something dark and depressing, given where he was in life during the recording of the project we expected a lot more songs like Lonely. Instead we got something so bouncy, so supremely happy at its core that you can’t help but feel a sense of peace wash over you as you listen. And as this album is meant to comfort those who have lost someone they love, the sound couldn’t be more fitting…even if the clarity of context still brings a hint of sadness along with it.
The vocals are what really sell this album, though. Jonghyun was at his best when he just was and let his creativity flow. We already know that he wrote and produced all but two of the tracks here and you can really hear his personality flow over the different styles and elements to make them work together. He had a way of making his voice sound just different enough to make it work for a plethora of genres so that he can come at you with fullness on one track before bringing you to tears with his falsetto on another. You hear what made him such a unique vocal quality in every note and that makes you understand the “artist” part of the album title all the more.
While it is hard for us to full evaluate lyrics due our limited translation abilities, what we can glean from this is that Jjong’s pen game was still just as strong as ever. The limited translations we’ve seen have shown us that the metaphors are strong and his phrasing still has that signature punch that takes a song and either brings home the theme or takes it in an entirely different direction while still connecting to the title. This really encapsulates the “poet” part of the album title and is really a fitting tribute for someone who wrote such beautiful words on some many things.
Update: If you would like to see the translations of all the songs on the set, head over to pop!gasa through this link.
Even with a runtime that clocks in at just over 36 minutes, Jonghyun manages to take us on an emotional ride all while soothing our souls and giving us life one last time. He didn’t need to ask us to say it, but we will anyway; you did well, Jonghyun. May the aqua glow of our hearts reach you as you journey onward.
Our favorite songs are Only One You Need, Sightseeing, Take A Dive, and Before Our Spring. The most skippable track is Rewind due to the fact that the placement breaks up the flow of album just a bit.
We always ask you to support artists on this site but, especially now, a purchase of the digital of physical copy would go a long way to supporting the Kim family in their time of grief.