As I mentioned last weekend, there is one last solo album review that I want to do before going back to doing a number of group album reviews. That being said, it looks like I will be covering a few solo acts in the coming weeks (guess who!). But for today’s album review, we will be looking at Baekhyun’s R&B dominated solo album. We have seen singles from Baekhyun but this is his first album release (and hence first solo album). It is titled City Lights and features the title track, UN Village.
1..UN Village (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for UN Village. (9.5/10)
2. Stay Up (ft. Beenzino) – Stay Up continues both the R&B and aesthetic vibes from UN Village. It is just a lot more about passionately sleeping together than going to see the night sky on a hill. And he isn’t shy about stating that throughout the song. It is a genre style that is done very often in KPOP. But instead of feeling very typical, the song feels very elevated thanks to Baekhyun’s smooth vocals in this track. Beenzino’s featuring adds momentum to the track. It felt like he was mumbling but it added to the final product, rather than be distracting. (8/10)
3. Betcha – Changing up the momentum entirely is a more upbeat track. Betcha has this playful and childish tone to it, which I think suits Baekhyun’s personality (that I have seen through the many videos on the Internet of the artist). It seems like Betcha is more appealing to many listeners, given that it does have a simpler tune and is more approachable. There is also a cheerful note to the track, which adds onto that appeal. It catchy and I too quite like it. But it has that typicalness to it that wouldn’t go 100% well as a title track. In fact, UN Village stands out to me more due to its uniqueness. (8.5/10)
4. Ice Queen – Ice Queen reverts out attention back to the R&B side of the album, which has dominated all but one track on the album. There is a flowy feel to it, which gives it a nice relaxing sound. In addition to that flowy feel, I found the way he sang the song to be interesting. Think of it like a cup that is filled to the brim. If you add more, it will overfill. The lyrics when he sang felt like it was spilling down the sides of the imaginary cup. But the song didn’t feel loaded with ‘too much’ vocals or lyrics, which was why I found it interesting. (8/10)
5. Diamond – Still on the R&B style, Diamond manages to change things up slightly by adding a more upbeat pop tone to it. And I think this addition makes the song sound a lot more appealing. His vocals shine in this son as he manages to show a variety of vocal techniques throughout the song. I really like his falsettos in this song and the harmonies that he manages to do with the backing vocals make this song an uber smooth song. I know these are points I have mentioned under the other songs. But Diamond manages to present these in another way that makes it worth mentioning again. (9/10)
6. Psycho – Ending the album is surprisingly not another R&B track. Actually, I am not sure exactly what genre this song would be under. Psycho has a mixture of different genres. Some R&B was heard in the verses, but the chorus went with an EDM route that gave it a crashing tone. The song is eerie and unlike any other on the album. It felt like the perfect song for a very intense moment during a thriller or action movie, which is very much my style. His vocals also share a similar description and felt like it was drawn out to match the crashing effect of the chorus. Overall, an amazing end to the album. (10/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.8//10