Album Review: PSY – 4×02=8

PSY 4X2=8

Release Date: May 10, 2017

Tracklist:

  1. I LUV IT
  2. New Face
  3. 마지막 장면/LAST SCENE (Feat. 이성경/Lee Sung Kyung)
  4. LOVE (Feat. 태양/Taeyang)
  5. BOMB (Feat. B.I, BOBBY)
  6. We Are Young
  7. 팩트폭행/FACT (feat. G-DRAGON)
  8. Rock will never die
  9. 기댈곳/REFUGE
  10. 오토리버스/AUTO REVERSE (Feat. TABLO)

Total Runtime: 00:35:31

Recommended for: Anyone curious enough to listen to other aspects of PSY’s surprisingly versatile and diverse music beyond his goofy title tracks.

NOT recommended for: Those who are tired of Gangnam Style‘s… style… and/or are completists who enjoy putting whole albums on repeat.

PSY has always been quite the divisive figure in Korean music. He’s been on the receiving end of a unique combination of ridicule as well admiration for his global relevance through Gangnam Style. His newest 8th album, 4×2=8, led by double title tracks, I LUV IT and New Face, features plenty of “young blood,” such as iKON’s B.I and Bobby, as well as ZICO.

Track 1 – I LUV IT

First of all, if you’ve never been a fan of PSY’s viral Gangnam Style, I highly doubt either I LUV IT and New Face would impress. Neither impressed me and this is coming from someone who actually does secretly enjoy jamming to Gangnam Style every now and then. Co-composed by ZICO and PSY, I LUV IT, especially, sounds like an attempt to recapture the magic of Gangnam Style, with its use of synths and repetitive hook. But while it’s slightly the lesser of two new title track evils, it hovers around the annoying side of the spectrum instead of fun. On the other hand, Gangnam Style somehow manages to straddle squarely in the middle of that spectrum.

Track 2 – New Face

New Face doesn’t quite feature a Gangnam Style-esque hook, but its tongue-in-cheek lyrics and sound are definitely distinctively PSY-like. But one of its biggest problems is its disappointing chorus. Like the latter, PSY follows his own tradition, and recruits Naeun of Apink as the star of his music video. Unfortunately, neither the song nor the music video concept possesses the same staying power as its far more oddly compelling predecessor. Furthermore, it’s definitely far more on the annoying end of the spectrum. At least Naeun looks pretty in the music video.

Track 3 – 마지막 장면/LAST SCENE (Feat. 이성경/Lee Sung Kyung)

Having heard nothing of actress Lee Sung Kyung’s singing prior to listening to this album (I do know that she was on King of Masked Singer), her voice in LAST SCENE is a pleasant surprise. It’s a little disconcerting to jump from a song as high-energy as New Face, to a song as mellow as this one. But considering how underwhelming the two title tracks are, it’s a welcome change of pace. For me, this is where the album truly begins, even if it isn’t really much of an ear-worm.

Track 4 – LOVE (Feat. 태양/Taeyang)

Well obviously, PSY has a bit of a love theme going on, considering the album artwork and one of his title tracks. Luckily, LOVE is one of the best tracks from this album, if not the best. Taeyang’s distinctive voice perfectly complements PSY’s rapping in this one. And all the finger-snapping makes me want to finger-snap along. Alas, I can’t finger-snap. Still, that didn’t impede my enjoyment of the song in any way, of course.

Track 5 – BOMB (Feat. B.I, BOBBY)

I have mixed feelings about this one. BOMB is built on a fun, interesting beat, but the use of autotune in its pre-choruses felt a little jarring. That aside, I do enjoy the combination of the three rappers’ varying styles, especially Bobby’s verses.

Track 6 – We Are Young

There’s something uplifting about the pop-rock-influenced We Are Young, even though its title is really the only I can understand about it. Its hook makes me feel like I have all the time in the world. That is, before the song ends, and then I remember that, unfortunately, I really don’t.

Track 7 – 팩트폭행/FACT (Feat. G-DRAGON)

Admittedly, I wasn’t particularly enthused when I first heard of the list of collaborators for this album. Not because I’m a fan of PSY and expected more, but mostly because Taeyang was the only one who interests me in any way. But it was FACT, featuring G-Dragon, ironically enough, that ended up being the song that made me give this album a chance. This track showed more of PSY’s biting honesty, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I definitely appreciated it.

Track 8 – Rock will never die

Rock will never die is a fun rock number, but it feels a lot like I’ve heard of this one before. It’s a nice injection of nostalgia, but I’m unlikely to give this one more than a few listens, or pay much attention to it if it ever comes up on shuffle.

Track 9 – 기댈곳/REFUGE

After the more hard-hitting Rock will never die, REFUGE feels a little out of place, and more like an obligatory slow song. It could probably benefit from a little rearrangement. I would concede that it does seem in character, at least, considering PSY’s style of going against the grain. Still, I’m not going to save this one in my library. For me, it reveals PSY’s weaknesses as a singer a little too much.

Track 10 – 오토리버스/AUTO REVERSE (Feat. TABLO)

PSY’s 8th album comes to a brilliant close with AUTO-REVERSE, yet another stand-out track. Everything about this outstanding collaboration with Tablo is perfect, especially its beautifully arranged instrumental. It’s a song that needs to be experienced, rather than read about, because no words could possibly describe how good this is. Placing this one right at the end was a good call.

Mogwai
OH!'s resident crazy cat lady and Chen stan

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