G-Dragon - One of a Kind (2012, South Korea) Rating: 2.5/5
Favorite Tracks: MISSING YOU, Light It Up
Since the summer was a bit of bust for my creativity, I wanted to make it up by reviewing G-Dragon's latest creation for the year. I'm sure a lot of fans were looking forward to the follow up to Heartbreaker, which I can understand. Lately, it seems like the boys' solo projects are stronger than their group work. What's going on, guys? Anyway, I wanted to follow a similar format as Big Bang's Alive album review for this one, which means that I will be adding some brief commentary on the music videos. It seems like some VIPs want to read the three videos as some deep, philosophical thing when it really isn't. Let's get to it!
I remember hearing that G-Dragon wanted to take a new direction with his music and try to be controversial. Did he succeed with his mission? Well, his first track (and also first promotional video) was "ONE OF A KIND" which kinda brought something new to kpop. I was a little confused by the sounds I was hearing from my speakers because it really sounded like almost everything I dislike about American hip-hop music, but somehow it was a little entertaining. There's not much of a melody. The flow is clearly through his voice and everything is muted, bass, and minimal produced sounds. For once, the music matched the imagery very well. It felt like a huge parody of what rappers want to be. They brag about what they have (or don't have) and have this cocky attitude. Honestly, the first time I watched this video I thought, "Definitely a Lil' Wayne parody". There's so many elements that could pointed to him, even though I'm sure there are Korean rappers that act the same way. This isn't a video I watch repeatedly. The only parts I really enjoyed were GD's split personality scene and the female dancers. Everything else was either annoying, silly, or embarrassing.
I heard "CRAYON" before the music video was released and honestly, I really liked this song in the beginning. It carries on a similar rap cocky attitude over with his delivery and the music. Strangely, I was kinda feeling the music. It seemed familiar with what's popular here to an extent except it was missing an obnoxious female rapper, then it switched to this electronic party music. It threw me for a loop and I was disappointed, but listening to the track a little more, I've grown to like it a little again. After reading the lyrics to this, like the previous track, everything made sense and I understood the purpose of it all. This is another rap parody video! From the opening lines and matching scene is parodying Soulja Boy. Can you see it? But overall, it's just a fun song with no deep meaning like everyone's trying dig out. It's amusing that just now VIPs are realizing that the message is just be yourself and "go crazy!" or as young people these days say, "Get your cray on". Get it now? How hard was it to figure that out? Seriously.
"Eventually" features one of the girls from the mystery new girl group that YG is hiding from us. It's a slower song and the music isn't that bad either. They have some emotion behind them, but it's very minimal sound until the chorus, which works perfectly. G-Dragon's voice isn't that bad, although I think this song would've been a hundred times better without the autotune for both his and the girl's voices. It ruins the song and it's really a nice song too.
I must admit that interpreted "That XX" wrong and I appreciate it a little more. I saw the video first and I really didn't like it that much. Since it followed the release of "ONE OF A KIND", I was really concerned with the direction of this mini. I'm not a big ballad fan and you should all know this by now. The video isn't that bad, it was mostly the stupid filters or whatever they used to sharpen the objects that made me turn my nose up. Reading the lyrics saved the song for me, instead completely hating it. At first, I thought it was a jealousy thing which I thought was amusing, but then thinking of it as this bastard as being the same person is kinda different. I don't think anyone's used that concept before, especially with a curse.
"MISSING YOU" sounded like this was going to fall under the same category as "어쩌란 말이냐?" from the T.O.P collaboration mini. It has a different sound as well and looking back at everything, the tracks are different from the previous, but takes a little piece from it to the next track. It's a relaxing track and I really enjoyed the guest vocals and the guitar. I don't think I could listen to this all the time, but it isn't too bad or too crazy either.
"TODAY" takes the drums from the previous track and runs with this slightly modern Beatles feel good sound. Yeah, I'll pass. This is definitely not my type of track. I'll give him points for trying something new again, but the high vocals are a little irritating and just the overall vibe doesn't appeal to me. It does sound like a couple recent Big Bang songs that get on my nerves like "Somebody to Love" and "Hands Up". Maybe that's why I can't enjoy this track.
"Light It Up" was a track I was really looking forward to because the sample sounded nuts and featured Tablo and Dok2. The music definitely has a fun vibe to it that's a little different from "CRAYON". I guess I expected "CRAYON" to stay on this hip-hop vibe like this song does. I'm sure this isn't the best these guys can do lyrically, but I'll accept it as this mini didn't blow me away one way or another. It's probably my favorite track on here and I can easily dance around my room to it, feel the vibrations from the bass. Although the "barking" noise reminds me of my childhood playing around with my keyboard. This whole song could've conspired from just messing around with sound effects and I really don't care. The song's cool.
When all's said and done, G-Dragon did complete his mission of trying something new and possibly bring new elements to the genre. Was it controversial? Adding a few profanities here and there makes it more amusing (or annoyances when censored) for outsiders than controversial, but I'm sure the Ministry had loads of fun ripping the mini to shreds. The mini isn't all that solid for me and my mood for tracks fluctuation from day to day. Some days I like certain tracks and the next day I hate them. It was a nice try, but nothing spectacular.