I never thought I’d be here writing a review to DONGWOOs solo album but here I am, still reeling from his double-barrelled release. INFINITE hasn’t quite been the same in the past couple years but there’s no denying their presence in the K-Pop community – DONGWOO is evidence of how much talent this group will always have.
I know of INFINITE but I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan. There are of course songs that I like and don’t like but the thing that’s stopping me from fully diving in is just their sound – it is very retro/electronic sounding and it’s not a sound I’m overly familiar with nor enjoy. But I do love the members!
I go through moods of binge watching all their variety shows, watching them all pick on Sungkyu or pranking each other. I love their vibe as a whole and they just make me laugh so much! DONGWOOs laugh alone is enough to send me into fits as well.
Before listening to the two title tracks I was unsure what to expect from this solo. Now that I’ve watched them, I am so excited! It does seem like he’s singing more than I would’ve thought but that only builds my anticipation over it. I’m ready!
ARTIST: JANG DONGWOO
DONGWOOs first solo album Bye was released on 4 March 2019 with double-title MVs for “News” and “Party Girl”. I have no other preconceived notions to what the album will sound like aside from the two title tracks. They both so different so I can only assume how wide the spectrum of genres he covers in this album. I’m so excited to hear it!
“I AM” is a nice little intro – sounds simplistic initially but has a whole bunch of instrumentation which builds some kind of ambiance which I love whole-heartedly. This track is short and has absolutely no words and it’s only purpose is to set the listener up for the second track.
Second track and the first title track “News” is the one that made me lose my mind. I did do a reaction to this song as well as the other title track which I’ll leave at the end of this review. The thing that drew me in to this song was the sound of his voice – husky and soulful. It also follows on really well from the first track. I’ve watched a lot of live performances of this song and I fall in love a little more every time. I wasn’t prepared for his falsetto nor for his rap in the second verse. I of course know he’s the groups rapper but I, for some reason, wasn’t expecting it. It’s an amazing song and I hope people love and appreciate it for what it is – GREATNESS!
“GUN” is a sharp turn from the title track – this song is straight deep-voiced rap and I’m covered in goosebumps! The instrumental sounds like it’s on the acoustic with the chorus sounding more melodic and providing more excitement. I’m gonna need him to stop whispering ‘love’ in his deep voice though….I don’t know how it’s helping him so he needs to quit it! Personally, the only negative about this song is the massive difference between the verses and chorus. I feel like they’re too far apart both stylistically and the keys he’s using. The melody and sound of his rap in the bridge makes a lot more sense to me which makes me forget my meh-ness I was talking about. I do like it though. A lot!
Fourth track “ROMEO” is more of a electronic/dance track than the previous ones. Admittedly this is what I thought the whole album was going to sound like and I was a little iffy on that. I feel on the fence with this song due to the fact I’m not fond of this sound without there being some kind of tempo or beat change so I’m left here feeling a little indifferent. I do however like his vocal moment in the bridge – it really brings me around to the remainder of the song yet it’s not enough for me to enjoy the rest of the song.
Fifth track and second title track “Party Girl” is similar to “Romeo” genre-wise though the difference between them is the ups and downs of the music which makes me like this song a lot more. I enjoy the vocal moments and progression leading into the first chorus – it builds suspense and is a little more my kind of electronic. What really helps me enjoy this song is the MV and I’m happy he released one for it. Looking at both titles side-by-side it seems like he was showing two different sides of him which is interesting.
“PERFECT” is more funky than expected and I like how laid back it sounds. I particularly enjoy how hard he goes before the chorus and it sounds like it’s a song perfect for him. It’s fun, consistent and gives a care-free vibe. It also sounds like a good party song so I’ll be adding it to my playlist immediately!
Last track “Something Between” sounds acoustic as hell and a nice sound to end the album on. For some reason the verses give me a Shawn Mendes feel… I don’t know. I love how simplistic this song is and it almost sounds romantic. I really should check the lyrics of this song just in case I’m all wrong. I can almost hear it as a kind of BGM in a movie montage about summer or being at the beach. I don’t know if I’m overly tired but that’s just what I’m getting from these songs! I love it!
I feel like this album left me a little wishy-washy but on the whole I enjoy it. I think the only song I’m not fond of is “ROMEO” while the rest of the songs range from ‘ok’ to ‘oh my god i love it’ which is normal for me. I think it’s a great album to leave before going into the military so DONGWOO should be proud of himself!
MY RATING: 8/10
Watch my reaction to “Party Girl” and “News” below!
Did you all enjoy DONGWOOs first solo album? Which songs stood out to you? Let me know down below or leave me a message on Twitter!