For those of you who have been following me since the start of this year, you would have been there for my entire journey of discovering, being in awe and falling in love with the members of PLT (Planetarium Records.) For those that haven’t, please see (here) and (here) and let’s move on to the most recent solo PLT comeback – VILLAIN.
ALBUM: Bank Robber
Bank Robber was released 1 August 2018, hip-hop artist Villain’s first ever mini album. I’ve known about Villain since he appeared on fellow PLT bandmate Jung Jinwoo’s album in 2016, but while I was more occupied with my growing love for Jinwoo, Villain only really showed up on my radar as a soloist when I heard his songs through PLT. To me, the PLT collective is the best thing to come out of 2018 so far and I’m craving for a new album ASAP.
First track “Rescue Squad” is a 1min 15sec hip-hop song which is left quite empty, only the bass and the odd melodic moments to support his voice. What I enjoy about this song is his voice seems to be used more like an instrument instead of an accompaniment – meaning his voice exists alongside the music rather than layered on top in the small climactic moments of the song. I also really like the end of the song when he says in english “enjoy the album”. It elicits an almost challenging atmosphere to what is about to become a fantastic album.
Title track “Manitto” is probably one of the best songs I’ve heard this year which I owe completely to the amazing song production, the many climactic moments I can only describe as almost theatrical and the way his voice is used in different ways throughout the song. Villain’s voice is so unique – the ways he uses it in the first verse isn’t the same way as the chorus’s or the bridge, it’s really strange but interesting at the same time. This song has a great repetitive and catchy chorus that sticks with you long after the song is done. It also uses a lot of english as well, a lot more than the normal Korean hip-hop songs which highlights his fluent english abilities. See the music video below!
Third track “Luhvin It” is a little more hard-hitting – bass wise – which is a nice break from the similar sounds of the first two tracks. The backing music sounds like a constant loop of an inverted melody which adds another interesting aspect to the song. I won’t be overly repetitive on how amazing Villain’s voice is but this song really accentuates how strong his voice is when he uses his full power. He also easily transitions from his normal voice into the higher notes, a skill I really appreciate.
“Hancock” is a slower song compared to the rest of the songs previously heard on the album so far. It is more slow and has a bit more substance to its melody instead of solely what his voice provides. It does use a muffled sound throughout which does link to the previous song and almost sounds carnival-like. This song is the first where his voice doesn’t change between verses/choruses and stays more constant and stable.
“A Piece of Work” is the closest to a ‘ballad’ that you can get which is surprising considering how strong the album belongs under the genre of hip-hop. While it does seem a little misplaced, Villain’s voice does a good job at keeping the continuation going as he sings on top of a purely piano instrumental. I really enjoy this song because of it’s purity – there’s no other sound except his voice and the piano, which I appreciate.
“Fairy – Remix” is a remix to a song previously released by Villain and Jung Jinwoo at the start of last year. It’s empty through the start of the song before the bass kicks in for a slow building effect which is nice. His voice is less melody and focuses more on sining in one constant tone with the ad libs and backing vocals creating the melody. It’s a nice end to the album as it reverts back to the hip-hop feel from earlier. It’s a perfect representation to the kind of artist Villain is and what kind of music he’ll release in the future.
Bank Robber is fantastic and paints an accurate picture for not just Villain’s talent but also the talent you can expect from PLT. When I love an artist or album, I tend to be repetitive and if I could make everyone who follows me listen to these two artists, I would. The kind of talent that they possess and the kind of music they’re creating is at such a high standard, the only option is to just sit back and marvel at their artistry.
My Review: 9/10
Please, listen to this album. Please, listen to the PLT artists. They’re so good, you’re going to thank me. I promise.