I wanna apologize for the delay of this album review. There had been lots of things going on (KPOP world and also with personal concerns), I hope that y’all would understand. 🙂
Akdong Musician, the fresh duo (slash siblings slash talented youngsters) under YG Entertainment, released their debut album entitled PLAY. Lee Chan-Hyuk and Lee Soo-Hyun made this album in their OWN liking (Lee Chan Hyuk composed and arranged all of these songs! Amazing right?) and has been sweeping off the charts for weeks now.
Do you know the reason behind the AKMU hype? If you don’t, then you better read this review. 😉
First of all, if you haven’t heard of Akdong Musician before, I have to tell y’all (as a headstart) that their genre is way different from those of the music that we usually hear from YG Entertainment. They’re more focused on FOLK/ACOUSTIC/Easy Listening kind of tunes. I recommend you watch their performances on KPOP STAR so that you’ll have a brief intro about this duo.(I admire how YG Ent is now opening it’s gates for various types of genres; it just proves that they still look for uniqueness and mind-blowing talents)
Let’s get into the songs, shall we? 🙂
GIVE LOVE is the first song from PLAY and was recently chosen as AKMU’s third title track (and the music video, you guys, you better watch it! It’s really good!). I have to say that this a good intro song for the whole album. It has that feeling of a fresh beginning; it also gives you a hint on how and what surprises does the album hold. The song is about the speaker asking for love in return after all of the things that he/she went through just for the person he/she loves. It’s a very fun and cute song since it’s like asking for something in a very cute way…. and the receiver can’t help but fall for him/her too. Well, I don’t really know if the LOVE was given or reciprocated, it’s kind of open-ended, but the song, as I have assumed, is still one-sided. I liked Soo Hyun’s adorable rap here and Chan Hyuk’s voice can unfold a story just by it’s tone. The exchange of raps between these two are just perfect.
The next song 200% is their FIRST title track (and the MV for this is the prequel for GIVE LOVE, you’ll LOVE it!). 200% is a perfect song for spring. It’s sweet, chill, colorful and very catchy. The moment I listened to this, I haven’t been able to stop from singing it, up until this moment. I truly understand why they chose this as their title track; the tempo was just right, the lyrics talk about being so sure about love and there are also some subtle sounds of various instruments that made the song POP off the album. It truly carried the whole album; it became the trademark of it. (I consider this as my favorite song from this PLAY).
From two fun tracks, we now dive into a song that focuses on a slightly serious concept. MELTED gave an inviting melody in a very unusual way. There is something about this song that will make you empathize with the lyrics. Maybe because it is a song about adults but also, this song has maturity in a sense that it holds the feeling of curiosity, disappointment, hope and care of an innocent child/teen/young adult. I also don’t know why but I think that this song is also appropriate for a musical.
The fourth track, ON THE SUBWAY, is an acoustic song about equating a person’s day with the subway. It’s a good song to start (waking up) and end (going home from the day’s chaos) your day. In this track you can visually picture the idea of it. I love how the story unfolds right before you just by listening to it. These teens sure know how to tell a story. I also love how simple this sounds, it truly encapsulated the feel of the song. While HAIR PART on the other hand has a jazzy vibe to it. The bass line really got me and the way the song started with the refrain was a good touch because you are being welcomed into the song with some sweet harmony. For me, I think that this is a chill song with quite complex lyrics. I got lots of overthinking going on while listening to this (and reading the lyrics), but I have finally thought of it as a song about how change can make or break a person; it just depends on how you take and handle it.
ARTIFICIAL GRASS is a metaphoric song about independence. It doesn’t sound anything like a rebellious type of song, but it brightens up a very gloomy day since it is a song full of hope for a dream that is geared by determination. It just explains that no matter how comfortable it is to live in your zone, it is still best to pursue freedom in order to learn, grow and be one with the world. (Soo Hyun’s range is unbelievable!)
DON’T HATE ME has a cafe/bossa feel. The guitar plucking was flawless. I really like how subtle their voices sounded here. They sounded vulnerable with the song. It’s about the feeling of being in love and being constantly ignored regardless of your efforts, that it came to the point where he/she is slowly starting to give up. Actually, this song made me really sad; it plucked my heartstrings.
With this next song, it is a total opposite of the previous track. LITTLE STAR is an anthem of the hopeless romantics. Wishing upon a star, wishing that one day you’ll meet your soulmate. The lyrics are very subtle and it will actually make you daydream looking towards the night sky. It is very hopeful and it makes your eyes glimmer with dreams about love.
ANYWAY has, like Don’t Hate Me, a cafe feel (but on a brighter and upbeat note). It’s about being chic/aloof when your crush passes by, afraid of letting him/her know your true feelings… then regretting it later. I understand how most people find that embarrassing. It’s because we are too ashamed to know about the what ifs (and I am talking about the negative result of it). What I don’t understand are the regrets. I admit to doing these things, but yeah, I really don’t understand why I regret it afterwards well in fact it was my choice (or “defense mechanism”) to NOT show my feelings towards the person. ANYWAYS, I love the outro of this song, the staccato-like whispering (in harmony) was just a perfect way to end the song.
IDEA is an easy party song that unfolds their story (somehow) and the stories of all of those people who are striving for their dreams. With all the expectations and pressure that they are all going through the best thing to do is to be true to and about yourself. There’s no better way to pursue your dreams with being YOU. Just do your best in everything. Don’t be clouded by all the others’ ideas that you may tend to lose your own identity. Idea has a pop/dance feel without the need of overpowering instruments to make you groove/jump around; it is a song that will surely make you dream high.
The last track off the album was released and composed for the release of a commercial for Samsung S4. GALAXY has a sweet melody; very light and cool to the ears. It contains psychedelic lyrics that made it a good ending song because it leaves the listeners in a good mood.
♥ PLAY really came as a surprise to me, since I was not really an avid follower of KPOP STAR (although I have seen lots of their performances). I instantly fell in love with their music because they are like a breath of fresh air and the way they shared good vibes all the way was addicting (in a good way). I really commend Chan Hyuk’s skills. He is very flexible in composing and arranging songs. And the way he raps? Really amazing! Soo Hyun’s voice is as sweet as honey. She showcased all sorts of emotions with her voice and how she handled each song with personality that only she can provide is unbelievable (and she is so young!). And what about the harmony? GOSH! The way the harmonize is PERFECT. They balance each other out. They are just full of life! My only concern was that some tunes sounded similar with each other. With all honesty, I found it difficult (especially for someone who doesn’t speak Korean) to differentiate a song from another. Nonetheless, they still showcased their artistry in a very vibrant and enjoyable way… and I just can’t get enough!
Now you all know the reason behind the AKMU hype. If you still don’t get it, I recommend you purchase the album here
1. GIVE LOVE
So let me slowly some into your heart
The most important thing is the heart
I’m not liking you just for your face (no, no)
Even if were not that close, I still have to try, at least I do
I wish the cold in the world of adults would be gone too
I wish the frozen love will melt away
4. ON THE SUBWAY
The subway is a reduced size of the world
5. HAIR PART
You can become a different person just by changing hairstyles,
6. ARTIFICIAL GRASS
Everything looks good
All things I have are looking good
But the reason I can’t be happy
You know why?
I want to breathe too
7. DON’T HATE ME
I won’t even put my hopes up high, will you even call my name?
8. LITTLE STAR
Will I be able to be someone’s star as well?
But why do I become all chic when my type walks by?
Nowadays, my thoughts won’t follow what I want
I’m full of passion, but I’m without material
Is there anyone who will be my material today?
Wanna cross the twinkling Milky Way and hold hand and walk with me?
Hope you enjoyed this album review as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Also, thank you for reading our blog posts! Every view means a whole lot to us! Thank you so much!! ❤
Don’t forget to read our review on AKMU’s 200% MV!
Till next time! Don’t forget to smile and spread good vibes just like Chan Hyuk and Soo Hyun did! 😉
(NOT A PROFESSIONAL MUSIC ANALYST, JUST A LASS WHO CONSIDERS MUSIC AS A BIG PART OF HER LIFE)