Album Reviews

Published on January 20th, 2015 | by ponyforprez


G-Soul: ‘Coming Home’ album review

We’re sure that by now, everyone has ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the fact that G-Soul trained for a mind-numbing 15 years in JYP Entertainment before making his debut on January 18 with mini album ‘Coming Home’ and soulful title track ‘You’. Does he live up to the fawning? We say: Yes.

For a new artiste with virtually no promotion, this man has certainly wowed plenty of curious listeners. And he comes with an intriguing back story too (do yourself a favour and read it), which I love. Nothing like a singer who stuck it out through the hard times, believing in his passion and chasing the origins of pure, good music. After spending a good number of years in New York, G-Soul has finally returned – and everyone seems more than happy to welcome this gem back with open arms. It looks unanimous – seeing how ‘You’ made its way to the top 10 of various online charts like Genie, Bugs, Naver Music and more.

All six tracks on the album are penned by the singer himself, with inspiration stemming from his days in New York’s underground music scene.

‘Coming Home’ on a whole is laden with smooth, lush vocals, lots of echo-y backup vocals, and an all-round R&B feel. It’s also promoted as an album having a deep house feel, which basically translates to a 1980s sub-genre of house music with elements of jazz-funk and soul. It’s a sexy album, but won’t hook listeners who’re used to catchy K-pop tracks. The album opens with ‘Coming Home’, which instantaneously sets up the mood for the songs to come – a track that feels almost detached and nostalgic, with repetitive lyrics and a beat that constantly climbs. It’s followed by ‘Superstar’, another track that I feel doesn’t fully showcase G-Soul’s vocals. It feels more like a tease and a prelude for something bigger to come. On the other hand, I prefer  ‘Superstar’ because it has a bit of a dance-y vibe to it – really easy on the ears.

Now, let’s talk about ‘You’. It’s easy to see why this much-raved about song is the title track. The most mainstream, radio-friendly track of the lot for its belt-y ‘neoooo’ hook, ‘You’ is a track about not being able to get a girl off one’s mind, and we’re blown away by the amount of control and sincerity G-Soul portrays in it. Few artistes really gut us with their singing, and G-Soul is one such singer. It’s also awfully beautiful, one of those tracks that starts off pleasantly quiet but wastes no time into delving into a kick-ass chorus less than 30 seconds later. The arrangement of the track won’t strike you as your usual K-Pop track, which is pretty natural given his American training, and its no-frills instrumental allows one to fully appreciate G-Soul’s vocals. There’s a steady crescendo and fall effect in this song, and you’ll find yourself anticipating the chorus over and over again.

‘First Love’ is the most upbeat track on this mini, kicking off with a drum beat which resonates through the entire song. It carries feelings of all-in-good-nature wistfulness as G-Soul reminisces his first love, and while it’s not a sad song per se, it does . Lyrics like ‘when I close my eyes, It’s like it’s yesterday, Like the night I held your hand for the first time’ are easily relatable, and there’s a natural groove to it that is instantly likeable. If you’re looking at something totally different, ‘Excuses’ is a 360 degree transformation. G-Soul puts a lot more strain on his vocals for this – the emphasis on each line is evident as he sings about letting a girl down and for making ‘excuses’ because he doesn’t love her. It’s a unique twist for a song, and the English in this song used in lines like ‘wish I could love you, but I really don’t’ elevate the heart-wrenching factor. The shallowness and despondence of the instrumental really envelops G-Soul’s vocals really well here, and I feel like this is one of the best displays of his conviction while singing.

The album closes with ‘Once More’, and it has become my favourite beside ‘You’ for its stellar show of depth and longing, accompanied by a fairly catchy rhythm as well. It exercises the perfect balance of showy and intimacy, and it’s also effortlessly romantic – you’ll find yourself quickly swept up in the breathy verses in no time.

I’m more than impressed with G-Soul, and I’d say my opinion holds quite a bit of weight because I’ve never heard of this guy until I started seeing articles on him pop up when his debut was around the corner. Decided to give the mini a listen and all I can say is that I’ll be looping his songs quite a bit…for quite awhile. I’m really happy that JYP didn’t drop G-Soul throughout his training process, especially when the industry is brutal – fast and furious in churning out the most money-making acts within months of each other. The result is this very worthy singer that JYP Entertainment, and all of K-music, should be proud to have.

With G-Soul being the first of (hopefully) many artistes from Studio J,  it’s early days to see if this sub-label will take off or be eventually shelved. Park Jin Young himself has proven to be an ambitious man (though not always with the best results – looking at your American ventures, sir), but this might be one of his best ideas yet. There’s already an astounding amount of artistes under JYP, but J Studio opens a whole new element to the company’s artiste repertoire. I’d love to see more really soon – especially collaborations with other JYP artistes if possible, think of how much further pop songs experimented – but for now G-Soul deserves to be the only one basking in long-awaited, well-deserved glory.



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About the Author

Online: I spend a bulk of my time dissecting music/dramas in all their entirety or covering events for Dinoseoul. Offline: I’m really just your average, socially awkward girl who happens to have a penchant for dancing and cats.

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