Seungri's VVIP Mini Album Review

1/28/2011 11:48:00 AM


Artist: Seungri
Album: VVIP
Genre: Pop & R&B
Label: YG Entertainment
Year: 2011

2. What Can I Do?
3. Open The Window (feat. G Dragon)
4. Magic
5. I Know (feat. IU)
6. White Love
7. Outro (In My World)

First thing's first, what do you guys think of the new Big Bang layout? I was going to go with Adam Couple but I didn't want you fangirls to blow out your keyboards with tears.

Big Bang's baby Seungri is all grown up and will be legal this year, so naturally he has to celebrate his soon-to-be legal status with his first mini album. (Don't worry Ri. You'll get a full album like your hyungs when you turn 21.) Big Bang's GD and TOP had me singing their praises so, shall we see if Big Bang's underdog keeps the momentum going?

Huh. A title song that's for once the first song of the track list. This track pounds our eardrums with it's drums and bass. It was almost painful. Thankfully it settles by the first verse. Seungri's vocals are pretty good and there is little to no autotune, thank goodness. The song gets annoying with the 'Oh! Oh-oh-oh Oh! Oh!' chorus in between Seungri's own vocals and the assaulting bass and drums that accompany it. It's mildly headache inducing and I wouldn't recommend repeat listens. The song by itself feels... disjointed. I don't know where this song is supposed to go structurally. The constant change throughout G Dragon's Obsession was better executed. The MV is pretty much it's saving grace because it makes the disjointed feeling seem sensible.

What Can I Do?
I've already sung the video's praises here but does the song hold up without the eye-candy? Yes. Yes it does. Is it the same ol' electro pop? Yes. Are there areas where the synths sound like Ke-dollar sign-ha's Tik Tok? Yes. Does it make me think of Breathe from GD? Yep. Is there autotune? Yep. Is the chorus full of one worded phrases? Yes (seriously, have people still not found a word to rhyme with 'down' besides town?). Do I like it even with all the now cliche musical elements? Yes. Simply put, I can listen to this song all day. I've stopped looking for originality in pop music. The melody makes good use of his higher register even if it does make his range sound severely limited. I know it's not, but the song sounds really uniform.

Open The Window
This... makes me think of MJ or Janet Jackson with the chorus and background voices alone. Is he channeling their cool factor? The instrumental sounds like something Janet could sing over. Seungri certainly sounds nice, even if I can't take him too seriously (lyrically). The instrumental is nice and relaxing, even if it does sound very recycled. Seungri takes advantage of those harmonies and the middle 8/bridge. The ending however feels like a ice cube being put down my shirt. It's sudden and out of left field the way the song winds down to a stop. I must admit, that G Dragon makes this song sound more credible as far as lyrics are concerned.

*Snickers at these lyrics* Ah boy... These lyrics when translated (the worst part is, the worst lines are in English and I can understand despite his accent) are bad... Jason Derulo bad. Ah... Panda Ri... you're trying so hard dear. I'll let you off the hook since you're still young and haven't gotten a guide of how to avoid such terrible pick ups. He sounds good though. He's utilizing his lower to mid register this time around and it's nice. This boy has a timbre that makes anything he sings sound nice. Choice... Choice37... You're not helping. Great producer, but you should be telling the poor boy that telling a girl 'Even though I don't know who you are, what your name is, or if we're even compatible, I so want to do you.' is not going to get him laid any numbers. Take the G Dragon approach. Start by saying 'Hello.' The instrumental is nice by itself, but generic. I have no real issue with this song beyond the lyrics. It's pretty unremarkable. It's not something I'd release as a single. It's easy to tune out. It's... okay. Not bad (it screams 'bad songwriting skills' however) but not wonderful either.

I Know feat. IU
This song is cute -not diabetes inducing, but cute. It's nice to hear from an artist not from YG make a guest appearance. I'm glad they didn't cutesy this up too much. It's clear that IU's no hip hop artist and she doesn't have the type of voice to expect such a transition, so I did expect something sickeningly cute. Their voices blind nicely together. Seungri should invite more artists to duet with. He uses his middle register to counter IU's naturally lighter voice and it's a nice balance. This song, I can actually take seriously in the lyrics department. Seungri's going on 18/19 (in American years). He spent most of his teen years in training and as a member of Big Bang with a company that's majority male, so he could only have but so much interaction with girls around his age (Minzy). Now that I think about it, most of these songs are written (at least partially) by him so I shouldn't be surprised at the corny/cheesy factor, especially if your reference for picking up girls comes from MVs and movies.

A comment on IU's "three octave vocals..." She certainly has a pleasant voice, but I'm not impressed by three octaves. The average pop star - even the average Joe Schmo without classical training has two to three octaves. Why in a world that has Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston (at least they both used to have 5 octaves), Christina Aguilera (4 octaves), and Janet Jackson (Yes, she has range. 3 1/2 octaves to be exact.), are people impressed by this? I don't get it. As you can see, three octaves is very common.

White Love
This song is something I can take seriously from him. I must say this song is really cute and nice to listen to. It's also nice to hear him breaking into falsetto territory since he rarely gets the chance to try it and show it off. This would make a nice summer hit. I can admit that it's schmaltzy as a continuation of sorts with I Know with IU, but I'll take it for what it is: A song that puts a smile on my face and makes me forget that it's snowing/snowy and cold where I live.

Outro/In My World
This song is beautiful. Lyrically and vocally. I don't care that his voice isn't made to do ballads like say... Daesung. His vocal ability (or lack thereof) doesn't stop the fact that this song sounds nice simply by the emotional conveyance. I only have two requests from YG: Re-release this a la B2ST's Lights Go On Again to make it longer, and let Seungri sing ballads. What he loses in vocal maturity and real life experience, he makes up in giving believable emotional response which is a requirement for 90% of idols who have/had no life outside of the corporate company's bubble.

Final Verdict:

Uptempos: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ / ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
VVIP's bombastic factor gave it a 2. What Can I Do saves this score.

Midtempos: ♪ ♪ ♪ / ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
 This category is hit and miss. It's too... mainstream. It has all the elements that makes a mainstream audience want to listen, but it also makes you want to ignore it simply because it sounds like everything else. Some of these songs are catchy, but some are 'Meh.' The lyrics kill Magic and Open the Window (with the exception of G Dragon's parts), but are suitable for I Know and White Love.

Ballad: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪.5/ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
There's only one and it's nice, but too short. 'Nuff said.

Overall: ♪ ♪ ♪.8 / ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

This score is based purely on the music alone- if only because even though his voice is gold, the lyrics are lacking. If I had to judge on lyrics, it would have to be a 3 simply because of the corny/cheesiness of some of these lines. Is this to say that Seungri has zero writing talent? No. Instead, I'd say he should have been worked like G Dragon was while he was still a trainee.

G Dragon (and I'm sure this was a requirement for Taeyang as well) was instructed by Papa YG to write songs every week to be given evaluation and now he does it because he wants to develop as an artist. One has to keep in mind that it's not all about writing 'your own' lyrics that makes an artist an artist. There's a difference between a singer who writes (bad) lyrics and an artist. An "artist" has a good command of the country's language and is able to craft words together to make a coherent whole that gives more than the most basic meaning of a line. Seungri is a good singer that can convey emotions into the lyrics he's given, but if I can't take his lyrics seriously, then I can't take his emotional depth seriously. Once he begins to craft better lyrics and has more life experience, I'm sure my feelings will change on this.

I didn't expect anything new as far as concept or the revolution of a genre, or anything (Is that to say I expect anything less than awesome? No. But, Seungri is coming into his own as a soloist and it wouldn't be fair to judge him on the same standards I expect of GD, Taeyang, and TOP who were all soloist at some point in time before Big Bang). Seungri as an artist and vocalist is rather predictable as far as musical style is concerned and this is his effort without the Big Bang influences. He draws influence from Justin Timberlake and Usher and it shows. That is why I'm not hung up on how generic this mini album is. It does have a clear structure. Uptempos => Midtempos => End with a ballad. It's not a CD that put its songs together to be a random discombobulated mess and I'm thankful for this. He's showing growth even though he just hasn't found his true niche just yet. The Outro as well as Next Day - I believe - are the stepping stones he needs to find just what works for him instead of emulating his favorite artists.



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