BIG BANG’s maknae has returned with his latest album “Let’s Talk About Love”! It is well known that he has continuously tried to shake the image of being the youngest, cutest and most naïve one of the fashionisto group. This album certainly pushes the boundaries as it tackles the many different adult perspectives of love. From the more sexy and risqué areas to the almost unbearable pain that can be associated with heartbreak, no stone is left unturned on this very human topic.
So, has SeungRi finally emerged from the cute baby to the mature man he seemingly yearns to be with this latest offering?
1. Let’s Talk About Love (feat. G-Dragon and Taeyang)
The first track on the album is “Let’s Talk About Love”. This song is a great way to start the album off; it’s upbeat catchy and unique. The song starts off with typical ‘victory’ sounding music, which you can also hear in VVIP. With the addition of GD and Taeyang, this song has something for everyone! The entire chorus is in English, which means it’s easy to sing along to. The only issue I have is the awkward ending to GD’s rap, it almost sounds like he didn’t know how to finish his sentence. The whole rap is fast and he sounds really confident and the ending just sort of trails off into a whisper. It sounds a little strange to me. Other than this the song works really well with the style of the album.
2. Gotta Talk To U (할말 있어요)
After you’ve just recovered from G-Dragon’s fearless lyrics, Taeyang’s smoothness and Seungri’s youthful voice, we’re introduced to “Gotta Talk To U” or “할말 있어요”. On the first listen this song doesn’t stand out at all and just sounds like a generic pop song, but the more you play it it the better it gets. It starts off slow, and his voice sounds really nice with the guitars. The song soon kicks in and before you know it, you’ve got the repetitive line “hustlin’ hustlin’” stuck in your head. One of our UnitedKpop writers has already reviewed this single in more detail, you can read it here.
3. GG Be (feat. Jenny Kim from YG New Girl Group)
That last track isn’t the only song on the album which sticks with you though. The next song on the album, GG Be has an incredibly catchy chorus with a cute piano beat. The song is lighthearted in the fact he’s included some humour within the lyrics, and it strays from the ‘normal’ pop song. This song adds variety to the album, and also includes YG trainee Jenny Kim! Jenny has previously featured on Lee Hi’s “Special”, and I was really excited for this song after hearing about Jenny’s featuring on it. Sadly, her part did disappoint me. She has been auto-tuned and her talent hasn’t been portrayed as well as it could have. Her voice still sounds good, but after the emotion and charisma she put into the rap in “Special”, this seemed a bit of a let down.
4. 그딴 거 없어 Come to My
This song is a very slow and chilled out, it brings about a very relaxed feel when you listen to it as it’s got a very heavy, plodding beat. After reading the English translation of the lyrics, you can see that SeungRi is actually singing about the pain of losing someone you love to someone else and having an inability to move on in life.
The first half of the song consists of an incredulity that the other has left and shows the feeling of inferiority experienced by the one that’s left behind. He expresses that ‘his’ (the other man’s) arms must be so much warmer and that ‘he’ must give her so much more affection. It’s sort of like the persona is grappling with the reasons why their loved one left them and coming up with reason’s to put themselves down because of it.
The second half of the song shows that the persona is not ready to give that person up and resolves to ‘steal’ them back. They assert that a love life of their own doesn’t exist without the other.
It’s a song that can make you feel quite deeply sad and, in this way and others, really reminds me of the song ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ by Limp Bizkit in its heart-wrenching expression of loneliness and sadness (which is a cover of the original by The Who, but I feel this cover has more of a similarity in its heaviness)
5. Yoo Hoooo!!!
The album takes another uplifting turn with this track, as we have here a good old song about clubbing and having a good time. SeungRi urges us to come out and party, to let our hair down. The lyrics say that even when he is down and lonely, he can be cured by going out and having a good time.
This subject matter is not exactly new to the K-Pop scene, but this song has quite a unique style to it in its heavy electronic beat being juxtaposed against SeungRi’s high vocals. I defy anyone who listens to this song to not sing “Yoo Hoo!” once. (It’s seriously difficult not to).
6. Love Box
This song has a rather similar sentiment to that expressed in ‘Come To My’. The persona has let someone go and regrets it. The ‘Love Box’ is actually is actually a small present that they have put their past love in. The persona thinks only about the other person, picking out their favourite ribbon and scent to put on it, wearing their best clothes and standing at the place where their relationship ended. The persona pleads for the other to come back to them. Towards the end of the song, it is contemplated that perhaps the persona pushed their loved one into the embrace of another and so wishes their love to be well and to always smile.
This track actually really reminds me of ‘elevator music’ (or ‘lift music’ to us Brits). It’s so chilled and SeungRi sings so softly, really showing off his beautiful vocals. However again, if you understand the lyrics, you really feel a heart-piercing sadness flowing through it. It’s a very deep and emotional song.
Overall UK Potential: 3/5.
Although this is a great album, most UK audiences won’t understand it. The songs are very repetitive and his voice is naturally quite high. When a foreign song does make it to the UK, there’s usually an element of humour in the music video, or a fun dance for people to do, (PSY, Crayon Pop). Seungri has kept it classy without doing something extravagant and strange. This, along with the fact the lyrics are in Korean can lead to the UK audience becoming bored.
This album is not going to be for everyone, many VIPs seem to be quite put out by what they believe to be overly-sexual tones. I can definitely see what they mean here, it seems that SeungRi can focus too much on shaking his maknae image, so he resorts to sexualising himself and his music as a way of shouting to people: “Hey, I’m an adult you know! I can do all of this stuff legally!” I know a lot of the appeal of K-music for us westerners lies in fact that it is so conservative in its nature compared to the usual artists featuring in the UKTop40, so this concept may not sit well with many of you reading this.
Having said this, SeungRi does do slick and sexy very well indeed, he is able to tackle very American sounds and still give them a unique flavour without the feeling that he is try hard to be something he is not. He certainly is a very talented man and one can really see how much he has matured through the years since his debut at such a young age. If you have a friend who is willing to give K-Pop music a try, this album would not be a bad starting point to suggest for them.
This review was jointly written by Mai Duff and Holly Smith.
What are your opinions on this album?
Do you like or dislike it and why?
Do you think SeungRi has fully matured or will he always be seen as the baby of BIG BANG?