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Park Ji Hoon’s first studio album, Message, is next up on the album review chopping block. I wanted to review this, as I felt his recent promotions didn’t get much attention. I really liked the title track, GOTCHA, which is accompanied by nine other songs on this album. And I have been reviewing all of this albums since his solo debut last year, so it will be odd to miss out on the chance to review his first studio album. Overall, the album was definitely a good one. For my more detailed thoughts, keep on reading below!
1. Waterfalls (Intro Track) – Usually I don’t review intro tracks. But Waterfalls is an exception as it contains lyrics and vocals. So, I will be including it as part of the album review. Waterfalls channels hip-hop in a subtle manner within its instrumental and repetitively reminds us to ‘Listen to [his] message’. Aside from that, we are also treated to a bit of rapping, which I am sure will get fans/listeners excited especially if that is the way you were introduced to Park Ji Hoon (which was the case for me). (8/10)
2. GOTCHA (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for GOTCHA. (9/10)
3. Hit It Off (ft. PENOMECO) – Hit It Off brings back the hip-hop sound in a trap style that ends up being a really pleasant song. I do admit that the instrumental does sound very standard and typical in writing, But I thought otherwise, as the song’s paced approach really helped make the song feel more refined and classy. Adding to that is the successful blend of Park Ji Hoon’s vocals and the out-sourced rapping by PENOMECO. The paced nature of the instrumentation really helps draws out the melodies and helped made both the vocals and rapping shine more. (9/10)
4. Rolling – Rolling opts for the R&B genre, with a jazzy touch to really help bring some additional oomph to the song. I wouldn’t mind listening to this song in a classy wine bar, so other place that has that fancy type of vibe. Rolling manages to showcase more of Park Ji Hoon’s vocals really well. Everything was quite melodic and flowy. I really liked that he managed to incorporate some rapping in the song, and how his rapping was well tweaked for this classy style of music. (8/10)
5. 50-50 (ft. EB) – I didn’t register this until today (oh, how reviewing songs makes me put on a more analytical mindset), but I really liked how Park Ji Hoon used a deeper tone in this song. This was offset by EB’s higher pitched rapping tone, which really brought a nice balance to the song. I also really liked the chorus, where they sing together. While I liked the tropical approach in the instrumentation, I do have my hesitations about this aspect as well. Personally, I wished the producers had went with a more dynamic route to give the tropical some more flair. That would have made 50-50 so much better and given it a bit more energy. (8/10)
6. DRESS CODE (ft. punchnello) – DRESS CODE delivers some additional energy to the album, which I felt was needed. It isn’t really dynamic form of energy, but DRESS CODE has this neat upbeat tempo to it which I will take gladly. But unfortunately, that is the only aspect of the song that really grabs my attention. Everything else didn’t fit well with me or was just forgotten. I pretty much forgot about Park Ji Hoon’s vocals once the song ended (though punchnello fared slightly better). In addition to that, I personally do not like the elongated and autotuned ‘DRESS CODE’ in the chorus. The elongation made it feel childish and the autotune just dulled it for me. Similarly, the rest of the song followed suit for me. (5/10)
7. Whisper (귓속말) – Whisper is one of my picks for Park Ji Hoon’s strongest side track on this album. While it did start off a bit slow-ish, the song does pick up during the second verse (which really helped boost its appeal). I enjoyed everything else about this song. His vocals are heavenly and very appealing to listen to. I also really liked the moments where he diverted for deeper vocals, contrasting for his higher pitch approach during other parts. The instrumental was very light, and I enjoyed the use of synthesizer. (9/10)
8. Tomorrow – If you wanted a substantial upbeat piece on this album, then Tomorrow is the track for you. There is a bit of heft to this song, which I felt has been absent from the album thus far. This ‘heft’ is due to the guitars that is strummed away on top of the usual beat. I also like the bit of bass that they manage to infuse into the song during the chorus via the thumping beat. Park Ji Hoon’s vocals were really good here. I like how he goes in and out of his raspy vocals for this song, giving the song some texture. It also felt like multiple people were singing this song, which gives the song a very inclusive feel. (10/10)
9. Scenario (시나리오) (ft. Sweden Laundry) – Scenario is a sweet song that shows us a more loving side to Park Ji Hoon (miles away from his villainous concept for his GOTCHA music video). His vocals work wonderfully in this song, complimenting Sweden Laundry’s sweet vocals. Like his collaboration with EB in track 5, Park Ji Hoon’s use of his deeper tone (in the form of rapping) was actually quite appreciable and gave the song some balance. The layering was also quite nice. The acoustic nature of the instrumental was also quite enjoyable. (8.5/10)
10. MayDay – From the opening instrumentation, MayDay is a playful track. I like this change up, though I think MayDay would have been better suited for a more upbeat album. It is definitely an colourful outlier that feels slightly out of place on this more mature release. That being said, however, MayDay was enjoyable and had a nice ring to it. (7/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10