[Review] Paradise – Eric Nam

Let’s kick the week off by catching up with reviews for a previous release! Don’t worry, I will be typing up reviews for the new releases of the day as per usual. But for now, the focus will be on Eric Nam’s return to the Korean music scene with Paradise, the title track off his fourth mini-album, The Other Side. This comeback comes after his first English album, Before We Begin, which was released at the end of the last year. It also comes after Eric Nam kick started his first world tour, which has been postponed due to the ongoing global pandemic.

If I had to think of one word to describe Paradise, I would pick ‘pleasant’. Everything instrumentally feels quite balanced. This dance song isn’t heavy, but it isn’t too soft. Even during the song’s most loaded section (i.e. the zippy post-chorus instrumental hook), everything felt balanced. And that is a really positive thing to say, as this song could have easily underwhelmed if it didn’t develop at the right moments or add to itself as it went on. I also feel that the instrumental had some really strong moments. The first most notable instrumental sequence has to be the that keyboard-like synth that kicked off the song. That alone was quite new and fresh, opening the song up with promising feelings. The second notable instrumental sequence has to be that post-chorus instrumental hook that I mentioned. There was a bit going on texturally and gave the song an extra boost of warranted energy. As for his vocals, they were very clear and crisp. I really liked how low he went during the bridge. To me, it gave the song that something different to keep it interesting and also enabled some contrasting with the rest of the vocals in the song. I have to be honest that the song isn’t mind-blowing or completely unique. But it has enough to be a pleasant track to put on during the Summer.

The music video seems to be quite confusing. But I think I got a story out of it. Mind you, this is my own interpretation of the music video. It seems like Eric Nam is a bit bored in his usual desk 9-to-5 job at the start of the video. So he purchases a Paradise switch, which he uses to visit a different reality or ‘paradise’. In this alternate reality, or ‘paradise’, he meets another version of himself, who hands him a note that says ‘Live Your Life’ in French. He then finds himself in a bedroom that is growing into a jungle, lost in the darkness and within the TV, in an anti-gravity workplace and finally a movie theatre watching a movie about himself. All of this stops once Eric Nam switches off ‘paradise’ or this alternate reality and returning to his usual life. Based on what I am reading, this video seems to be linked to the current lifestyle we are all living in. Life currently is the ‘paradise’ depicted in the music video, where things aren’t as normal as it was months ago. But eventually, we will return to that normal from months ago, as shown by Eric Nam at the very end of the video.

Eric Nam claims to be horrible at dancing. And while he does look a little stiff on stage, he manages to dance his way through this stage in a way that we have never seen him before. The start of the performance begins with a little illusion of Eric being pulled into the ‘paradise’ and ends with him leaving the ‘paradise’. Everything in between was quite good and I liked how that post-chorus instrumental hook came to look on stage.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

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