Taeyang‘s latest solo comeback is in the form of another full-length album by the name of Rise. Here is our track by track review.
1. Rise (Intro) Taeyang sings about rising and fighting against the heartless world. It may only be just over a minute but this song’s message is evident and quite uplifting. The entire song is in English and yes…he really did say the ‘f’ word. For some odd reason, there is a particular melody in the background near the beginning of the song that reminds me of Tears For Fears ‘s “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”
2. Eyes, Nose, Lips A slow but powerful ballad where Taeyang has reluctantly let his lover go and the memories that still linger. Your eyes, nose, lips. Your touch that used to touch me, to the ends of your fingertips. I can still feel you. My favourite line is You smile back in our pictures, unknowing of our approaching farewell. Heartbreaking. You can hear Taeyang pouring his emotion in this song. A strong comeback single for sure and it has gained Taeyang a lot of wins on music shows, as well as inspired idols to cover said song.
3. 1AM Another break-up only this time apart from the pace being faster than track 2, Taeyang is dealing with his break-up in a much wilder way – partying late till 1AM with his friends who try to comfort him, screaming his emotions out as he goes for a drive. He thinks he can deal with the absence of his lover but when it comes down to it he can’t stop thinking of her and his heart still aches.
4. Stay with Me (feat. G-Dragon) A song which talks about a couple currently having an awkward situation – possibly an uncertainty in their relationship – and the guy encourages the girl to stay with him. This line says it all Your lips don’t agree but your eyes tell me you want me. Won’t you stay with me, come to me
5. Beautiful (Body) Speeding up this album with an upbeat track, the title says it all. Taeyang likes a girl’s body and admires every single part of it. 2NE1‘s leader CL has a cameo in the song with the line of My head shoulders knees feet. It’s better than yours which I’m sure will be perfect for the VIPs to echo at live performances. The chorus I got that body. You got that body. Now you and me let’s make somebody sounds rather ambiguous. Depending by your way of thinking. I also find this song as a possible upgrade/follow up to “Take It Slow” from the debut album.
6. Ringa Linga Comeback single from last year. This is definitely a different Taeyang song that goes in another direction to the R’n’B Taeyang many VIPs are familiar with. Taeyang raps more than sings here and I feel Ringa Linga works well for a party track to dance to.
7. This Ain’t It Taeyang slows it down again like with track 2 but is going for an acoustic style as he talks about the worries of an unfinished love, regardless of the hurt he suffered. What if he met his lover again? Would he be able to tell her he still loves her? Would he hide?
8. Let Go A pop rock track discussing the normally emotionless characteristic without care or need for love that is slowly disintegrating because of a special someone. I used to be cold, I used to be emotionless, but I’m feeling a bit strange these days. I used to be greedy, I used to be selfish, but I’m starting to let it go.
9. Love You To Death Ending this album with another pop-rock inspired track, Taeyang talks about his obsessive love for a girl and how it breaks him down mentally but he doesn’t care if he goes crazy because it’s all for her. If wanting you who doesn’t want me is my destiny. I’m gonna love you to death
If there is one thing that I picked up from Rise overall - it's the soul and intense intimacy. Taeyang is a fantastic dancer but when he is simply singing on the stage and nothing more it allows us to connect emotionally and I think Rise does this rather nicely. If Solar was generally about needing a girl or having one-sided love for a girl then Rise is a fitting follow up that talks about breaking up with a girl and the aftermath effects.