Album Review: Primary – Pop


Release Date: August 30, 2017

Tracklist:

  1. 드라마 (ft. Kim Sunggyu)
  2. 툭 (ft. Yang Yoseop)
  3. Right? (ft. Soyu)
  4. 다이어트 (ft. EXID Solji)
  5. 마중 (ft. B1A4 Sandeul)
  6. 허쉬 (ft. GOT7 JB)

Total Runtime: 00:19:40

Recommended for:  Fans of said groups and vocalists, people who likes R&B and Soul, fans of bright, saccharine light pop songs, coffee shop songs lovers.

NOT recommended for: People who don’t like the said genre and those who don’t like to listen to songs of the same genre but prefer more diversity. People who likes hip hop since there’s literally no rapping.

Primary, the king of collaborations and one of the most prominent K-hip hop and R&B musician, came back as a producer of his own mini album, co-created with 1of1. This second EP is a follow-up to Shininryu, which was released on August 4th and featured a variety of non-idol vocalists. This time, some of the most talented Korean idol vocalists lend their voices to Primary songs, in an album that it’s all made by featuring. The EP consists of 6 tracks.

Track Review

1. 드라마 (Drama)

The album starts with this cute and quite simple b-side. The bright but, at the same time, elegant song is carried by Sunggyu’s warm vocals and progresses calmly since the beginning with beautiful guitar strings, low bass and fluid musical effects. Then it explodes suddenly in a catchy chorus that albeit a bit predictable it’s still nice to listen, at the point that make you want to move your head to the rhythm. The bridge is interesting because it’s reduced to the minimum of Sunggyu’s voice, again some sort of classy effect and percussions. It’s a song that in my opinion could go well in a fresh spring day (yeah, we’re a bit out of season here!), or we could hear it by chance in a mall while shopping and just starting to hum it unknowingly later because it’s that catchy, especially the “no no no” part of the chorus.

2.툭 (Tükk)

The song starts already with a steadier rhythm compared to the previous one. It’s quite fast since the very first note. We have a very pleasant union of drums and bass which gives a more powerful atmosphere and definitely identify it more as a brassy pop rock tune. But this seems to be only a premise because as soon as Yoseob starts singing his vocals slow down the melody, at the point that, when I got to the chorus, I had a feeling I was listening to a whole different song despite the background music being the same. It’s like the languid flow of the vocal doesn’t fit in a song that begun quite fast. The arrangement is, however, very enjoyable and Yoseob’s falsetto in some point of the song is really fitting, not to mention dreamy.

3. Right?

The title track “Right?” begins with a funky and playful electropop sound that soon introduce us to a light-hearted and refreshing melody. In the little instrumental intro I can hear some sort of influence of an Indian sound or possibly of Korean traditional music, which is absolutely and unexpectedly fitting. When Soyu light and breathy vocals kick in, I just know that this is the classic coffee shop song that Koreans like so much. Nothing wrong with this, since the track is so delightful and sweet. The vocals are not so powerful but the song doesn’t require them. However, in the bridge, Soyu’s vocal tone is higher than her normal tone, a change that was honestly unnecessary. And since I’m a sucker for guitars melodic solos, the final instrumental part is probably my favourite and close harmoniously and delicately the whole song.

4. 다이어트 (Diet)

Percussions open the fourth track introducing a much more intense song than the others. Solji’s “Diet” features mellow nu-disco vibes and her charming and deep vocal actually carry the whole track sensually and melancholically. At some point, the instrumental seems very superfluous and subtle. This is probably deliberate to make Solji’s voice stands out more and the music is almost overshadowed by it. You can’t do anything but just become enthralled by it. The chorus is the only point where the two dimensions can co-exist and create a classy, sophisticated melody, enriched by some synths effects.

5. 마중 (Pickup)

The piano is the main ingredient of this very chill song which, with Sandeul’s clean and smooth vocals, is the perfect tune to relax to after a tiring day. “Pickup” is very groovy, filled with lilting synths and a high-class sound. The build-up is quite pleasant because, as we get closer and closer to the chorus, Sandeul’s voice also become higher, moving along the sound, while in the chorus is more breathy and fragmented. In the last part his falsetto is really top-notch stuff.

6. 허쉬 (Hush)

This track is just pure R&B. Primary probably took advantage of JB’s individual musical style that goes exactly towards smooth R&B to give him a tune that perfectly fits him and his voice. The instrumental here is heavenly, the percussions and the elegant keyboard effects are what make this song unique. The verses have a kind of calming quality to them thanks to JB’s soulful voice. I particularly like the peculiar effect in the build-up to the chorus of a heavy water drop continuously falling in intervals which, coupled with his higher notes, give a much powerful energy to the part. The chorus is like a free fall from the build-up, piercing, sinuous, fluid.


 

Review overview
Summary This all-vocal based album is very polished and thought through. There's really no bad track and each of the them is pleasant enough because of some features that make them replayable. As a whole, this album is a bit repetitive in its style and there's no experimental or different characteristics that could make it particularly original or groundbreaking, but as of cohesiveness, it could be considered a perfect album.
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