[Review] Roller Coaster – Jeong Sewoon

It has been over a year since we have heard from Jeong Sewoon through the second half of his studio album 24 and the title track In The Dark. He has been fairly quiet over the last year, as fans awaited for a new release from the soloist. And as of yesterday, the wait is over, as Jeong Sewoon has returned with his fifth mini-album, Where Is My Garden!, which is lead by the title track Roller Coaster.

First impression of Roller Coaster is that it is an extremely pleasant song. I wish to clarify that ‘pleasant’ is used in a positive manner for this review, which I think is the case with all Jeong Sewoon songs for me. I quite enjoy his more upbeat tracks, which this one definitely is, making it fitting for the Summer season that Korea is fast approaching. However, a more accurate description is that Roller Coaster is breezy and light. Roller Coaster has a nice and enjoyable pop instrumental for the most part (and in some ways felt jazzy) and features some vibrant brass as a standout detail within the instrumental. Talking about the brass, when it comes up in the song, it makes me want to get up and have a bit of a boogie. Nothing too crazy, but it just has that energy and I reckon that is a good thing. I do think the instrumental elsewhere could have been a bit more dynamic, just to give Roller Coaster a bit more excitement, but it is fine as it is. Jeong Sewoon was quite consistently solid throughout the track and hearing his vocals in an upbeat setting brings up some good (and unrelated memories) for me. There were many parts within Roller Coaster that I thoroughly enjoyed when it came to the vocals. The falsetto direction that he goes for in the choruses, the amped up vocals in the second verse, and the pairing of his husky vocals and the backing vocals in the bridge. All of these were great displays of Jeong Sewoon’s skillset. The melodies and hooks were memorable enough, which definitely puts Roller Coaster in a good position.

The music video was a pretty cute one, which fits with Jeong Sewoon’s image. The colour palette is nice, reminding me of pastel colours that I would associate with sitcoms. The video is set in a garage, where Jeong Sewoon hangs out. While Jeong Sewoon is all smiles in this video, I do wish that the video featured a few extra people as background characters, just to give it a bit more substance and make it a little more dynamic. And he looks incredibly lonely. We do see multiple Jeong Sewoon’s playing instruments at one point, but I think that just reinforces my idea of having more people on the screen. Aside from that, I don’t think there is anything memorable about the video. But I think it is still a fair video that works decently with the song.

Again, cute vibes from the performance. But nothing overly cute, which I like. There isn’t anything fancy with the choreography, but it does give off a refreshing vibe and reiterates the idea that I want to have a bit of a boogie (which Jeong Sewoon does deliver). The rolling chair was also a nice touch to the choreography.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6.5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10

[Album Review] 24 Part 2 (1st Studio Album) – Jeong Sewoon

Jeong Sewoon is back with the second part of his 24 studio album. For those who don’t know or remember, the soloist made an announcement last year for his first studio length album. In July 2020, he made his solo comeback with the first half of his solo studio album, 24, and the title track Say Yes. Since wrapping promotions, Jeong Sewoon remained fairly quiet up until December, when it was confirmed that he would return on Janaury 6 with the second part of 24 and the title track In The Dark. Per usual, Jeong Sewoon has really shown off his music ability with another amazing release. Also, this album review is also the first album review for a 2021 release.

24 Part 2 Album Cover

1. :m (Mind) – Opening the album is :m (Mind), which is a nice acoustic pop track. But there is a bit more to this track, with Jeong Sewoon’s vocals dominating the track and there is a really nice synth touch that transforms :m into something unique. The melody of this track is very simple, yet so moving all at the same time. The swaying criteria can be applied to this song and it definitely helps :m earns the tick of approval. (8/10)

2. In The Dark (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for In The Dark. (9/10)

3. Fine – The upbeat nature of the song and its groovy instrumentation is what attracts my attention at first. And it the same elements that keeps me coming back for more. I really like the guitar work in the chorus and how husky Jeong Sewoon’s voice was during the chorus. It just all made Fine be a standout song. His high note pierces through at the end, but in a very good and satisfying manner. It was also a catchy number that I thoroughly enjoyed. (10/10)

4. DoDoDo – Bringing you back to the olden times is DoDoDo. It is a jazzy number that is quite soothing and mellow-sounding. Paired with the way his voice is filtered through the autotune, DoDoDo sounds like it could be part of a soundtrack of an old movie (when sound was first introduced). I don’t say that in a bad way through, as DoDoDo is quite captivating and a pleasure to listen to. (9/10)

5. Find You (숨은 그림 찾기) – Within seconds of listening to Find You, I just knew it was another perfect song. Jeong Sewoon brings back some of that acoustic guitar and groovy instrumentation in this song. The best part of the instrumentation is when they bring in that more defined guitar work part way through the verses. It felt very refreshing and very blissful. I als like how that energy carries through into the chorus. Find You sounds like a very sweet song and that feeling definitely comes through the lyrics, as well. (10/10)

6. Be A Fool – Ending off the album is Be A Fool, another song that got me swaying along from the very start. There is a hint of a jazz in the instrumental, but Be A Fool can be passed off as a ballad. The instrumental for Be A Fool is quite simple. But simplicity here is definitely a positive, as we get to hear Jeong Sewoon’s vocals in a very clear manner. It felt clean, pure and concentrated all the same time. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.2/10

24 Part 2 Teaser Image

[Review] In The Dark – Jeong Sewoon

Finally…. The first song review of 2021! And the honour of kick starting the reviews for 2021 belongs to Jeong Sewoon, the first artist from a major company to make their comeback in the new year. About 6 months ago, Jeong Sewoon made his comeback with the first half of his first studio album, 24, and the title track Say Yes. It has been incredibly quiet since that release. Today, the soloist finally returns with the second half of his first studio album and the title track, In The Dark.

While the last title track had a cheerful tone to it, In The Dark opts for a little more matureness and seriousness. This doesn’t effect the upbeat nature of the song, as the acoustic guitars that make up In The Dark‘s background is incorporated with band percussion to give the instrumentation some bounce to it. I quite like this, as the energy is very straightforward and consistent. Usually, I use these descriptors to highlight them as flaws. But In The Dark uses them in a very appealing manner, so it is definitely a highlight of the song. Another highlight has to be the husky vocals that Jeong Sewoon employs in this song. They blew me away and made the song a lot more captivating to listen to. It just bring so much texture of the song, particularly for the chorus. And it is the main selling point of the song that makes me want to go back to the song each time it wraps up. Unfortuately, I do have one issue with the song. I was expecting the ending to be somewhat different to the rest of the song to really bring it all home and blow me away completely. Whether that was through amped up vocals (or some sort of high/long note or ad-lib) or maybe different instrumentation routes, I wouldn’t mind. I just thought the ending called for something more. But aside from that, In The Dark still manages to blow me away.

While In The Dark sounds more mature and serious, the lyrics are unexpectedly quite uplifting. It reassures fans and listeners that being ‘in the dark’ is okay and that ‘you will shine’. He also offers tips of ‘hold your head up high’ and ‘bring back the mindset that you started with’ whilst in the dark. What does this have to do with the music video? Well, majority of the video is Jeong Sewoon in the dark. I interpreted his face in some parts to be worrying and scared. But we see him have a boogie and dance around, making the most of his time in the darkness. It is clear he is showing that while the dark is scary, he can hold his head up high and shine with his smile. And if he can do it, you can as well!

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Album Review] 24 Part 1 (1st Studio Album) – Jeong Sewoon

Today’s album review is brought to you by Jeong Sewoon!!! A month ago in mid-July, Jeong Sewoon brought to us the first half of his first studio length album, 24. It features the title track Say Yes, which Jeong Sewoon has finished promoting, as far as I can tell. I have to start of by expressing how disappointed I feel that this album did not get much attention or fanfare. My initial listen to this album was one month ago (which is also when I decided that an album review for this particular album will be written up) and I have been left captivated since then! Even as writing this album review, I am still stunned and shocked at this album’s quality. To the point where I gave every song a rating higher than 9/10. I think that is a first and truly represents what I would call a ‘good darn album’. Well, have a listen to this ‘good darn album’ and see for yourself.

24 Part 1 Album Cover

1. Say Yes (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Say Yes. (9/10)

2. Don’t Know – Sometimes it is hard to articulate thoughts into words. for these album reviews. I find this to be the equivalent to being speechless. And depending on the situation, it can be either a good or bad thing. In Don’t Know’s case, me being speechless is definitely a compliment. I had to backspace my way through multiple sentences as I had no idea where to begin the review for this song. You have an amazing instrumental kicking the song off. All of the acoustic guitars, the drums, the electric guitar riffs and the tiny bits of saxophone that we get in the chorus makes this instrumental quite dynamic in its own way. Paired with Jeong Sewoon’s powerful vocals and beautiful melodies that make you sway along to the song, Don’t Know ends up being a standout soft pop rock ballad that steals my attention. (10/10)

3. HorizonHorizon is a very smooth yet chill track that is very easy on the ears. The song highlights the velvety nature of the soloist’s voice, which just makes this song so captivating to listen to. The pairing of Jeong Sewoon’s with the backing vocals helps create a smooth tone that glides the song forward so effortlessly. As a result, the song’s atmosphere is just perfect for when you just need to escape from reality for just a brief, almost-three-minute period. I also liked the echoey effect that comes off his voice. It just makes the song feel more wholesome and aesthetic. (10/10)

4. Beeeee – We re-enter that upbeat territory that has been absent in the last two songs. Beeeee just has a feel-good vibe that just rubs off on you through the upbeat and slightly funky pop instrumental. In a sense, it is rather straightforward (yes, this is the best critical statement I can give this song). But it is still amazing, nonetheless. Great vocals, once again. Great beat. And great energy. (9.5/10)

5. O (동그라미)O is a bluesy track with a nice acoustic guitar-based instrumental. It really like how the chorus ends with the harsh acoustic guitar strumming. It is a little different than what we usually get and I liked this uniqueness. Towards the end, electric guitars come into play. There is a whole solo devoted to its presence and I quite like that as well. As for his vocals, we have seen this side of Jeong Sewoon in the past, so there isn’t anything new on this front. Though, I do like this vocal route on this album. The inclusion of this song on the album does help fulfil a full rounded experience of Jeong Sewoon’s vocals, as the change of pace enables the spotlight to highlight a different side of Jeong Sewoon on this particular album. (9/10)

6. Hidden Star (새벽별) – The final song on the album covers the mandatory ballad that is featured on every single KPOP album. Hidden Star also continues the slow pace from the previous track and hence we are treated to a duo of songs to ease us off the first half of the album. The ballad is simply made up of two elements. The first being Jeong Sewoon’s vocals, which is amazing in this song. The second is a really beautiful standalone piano piece. I can see myself drifting to sleep with this song, knowing that I will have good dreams thanks to the riveting and stunning nature of Hidden Star. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9.4/10

24 Part 1 Teaser Image

[Review] Say Yes – Jeong Sewoon

Jeong Sewoon began his solo career in 2017 off with dance-centric tracks (Just U, Baby It’s You, Feeling) and has progressed to more vocal-centric ballads (Something 20, When It Rains) with his more recent releases. And yesterday, the solo artist made his comeback with Say Yes, which leans back into that dance territory that he started off with. The new single is part of Part 1 of his first studio-album, Part. 1 24.

Say Yes comes well timed for the season of sun and energy. Like many of his solo tracks, I find it quite charming and likable from the first listen. While I do admit that there is a small amount of standardness in the new song, the song’s better moments dominates and overlooks the song’s weaker moments. Let’s start off with the standardness. The verses felt dull and grey. They weren’t the most memorable sections of the song. While they do feature a nice presentation of his vocals, the verses just felt incredibly plain, in comparison of the song’s more undeniably stronger sections. With that out of the way, we can move onto the song’s better moments (i.e. the chorus). There was a nice explosion of sounds during the chorus. Not so much that it overwhelms or creates an imbalance with the rest of the song. It just felt right. There was a punchy nature to the synth that the producers put into the play. The second and final chorus is followed up with a sharp synthesizer sound that adds colour to the song. His vocals during these parts is quite powerful. Not powerhouse powerful, but on par with the energy and colour that comes from the chorus. I also liked how his vocals continued the momentum of the upbeat sequences throughout the bridge. Usually, I would have suspected a slow down, but what we had was a good continuation of the energy. In comparison to his ballads, this dance material is more memorable and I believe that is the case with Say Yes as well.

I really like the music video. There is a feel good vibe that comes off that puts the song into context and makes it more explosive and energetic. I really like how Jeong Sewoon grooves along to the song during the chorus. That’s where that feel good vibe comes from. And that is essentially the point of the song. The lyrics is all about being individualistic with life’s journey. He complains about people telling him to do things one specific way. But he wants to be himself and do what pleases him. He asks people to convince him that he is wrong (Pull me close so my heart sway) or to just join him (If not, you can just sway with me).

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9/10

[Review] When It Rains – Jeong Sewoon

I seem to have forgotten to mention yesterday that album reviews will be put on hold until the end of the month. But it time to catch up on the reviews. 

Wednesday saw the return of Jeong Sewoon, who has returned with his 5th mini-album, Day. The lead title track of this mini-album is When It Rains. This is the solo artist’s second comeback of the year, following Feeling, which was released back in March of this year.

When It Rains returns Jeong Sewoon into ballad mode, a side of the solo artist that was seen briefly through his 20 Something comeback last year. The difference between that track and this new release is that this falls into the traditional ballad category, which manages to show off a new side of Sewoon. I thought the instrumental complimented Jeong Sewoon’s vocals very nicely. The instrumental was rather typical but it worked really well as a blank canvas. His vocals were really good as well and you can definitely hear the emotions in his voice. The lyrics themselves are already quite loaded with emotion, where he regrets breaking his partner’s heart. But his voice makes it so much sadder, especially that first line where he sings about watching the weather forecast on the TV (a really good opener and ender for the track).  Together, the instrumental and vocal combination gets you swaying along to the music, which earns a big tick from me (It has been a while since I felt like this for a ballad). While I do like the more upbeat sounds he debuted with, I think Jeong Sewoon has shown that he is versatile through this comeback and is definitely a solo act that many people should look out for.

The video takes a literal visual approach with the lyrics of the song. We are shown shots of Jeong Sewoon sitting alone in this cafe, which I assume is where he confessed his love for this girl back in the day. They have gotten along quite well. But one day, he never turned up, leaving her to sit alone in the cafe. It seems like there are a few scenes where she is sitting in the cafe throughout the night, signifying that she did wait. The telephone booth, situated awkwardly in the middle of the cafe was probably the turning point of her night, where she realized he wasn’t going to turn up and ends up leaving. He does end up coming back and ends up sitting in the exact same spots as her, which shows his regrets. Rain was also showed in the video, with the mood in the cafe reflecting a rainy day. Overall, I thought the video was well put together for a ballad and I liked how the colours/lighting added meaning to the video.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10

[Album Review] Plus Minus Zero (4th Mini Album) – Jeong Sewoon

Just before the clock ticks over to the next day, I come running with Friday’s album review! Jeong Sewoon made his comeback last week with the upbeat Feeling, which featured Penomeco. And that title track was featured on his 4th mini-album, Plus Minus Zero, since his debut! Jeong Sewoon is one of the artists that I keep coming back to because his songs are so good and this album is just further undeniable proof of this fact. Let’s see what I had to say about his new album below!

Plus Minus Zero Album Cover

1..Feeling (ft. Penomeco) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Feeling. (10/10)

2. My Ocean (나의 바다)My Ocean is a ballad. A beautiful sounding ballad. It is one of those songs which you have to stop whatever you are doing and listen to it in stillness, in order to get a complete sense of the song. The song features a piano-only instrumental. Simply, that is it. There are not strings or percussion. Just straight up piano. And it was a very beautiful backdrop to Sewoon’s voice. It isn’t a song to show off vocal techniques or high notes. Instead, the song remained very consistent and his voice painted the picture of the ocean in which he continually referred to as part of his lover. And for that, I think this is the best song on the album. (10/10)

3. Your Favourite Song (니가 좋아한 노래) – This is also another ballad but it seems to delve into the R&B side of music. It seems like the song talks about the regrets after a breakup but it is too late to fix anything. The song is also quite nice, with a slight huskiness identifiable in his voice. It features guitars in the instrumental. But it seemed to have been filtered as it sounded distant and hollow. Not saying it was bad because it was a rather nice touch to the song, which I would have otherwise said was plain. (8.5/10)

4. DistanceDistance is a mid-tempo R&B track. The song starts off with some whistling and felt like it was going to be a slow song at first. But the song starts incorporating other instruments and this continues throughout the song, creating a very satisfying build-up. I thought the melody in this song was rather nice. The combination of the build-up and the melody make this song a little bit catchy. I find his sing-speaking second verses to be an interesting spin and was a fair attempt of keeping the song interesting. There does seem to be a barrier of some kind that prevents me from 100% liking the song but I am not exactly sure of what is holding me back. (8/10)

5. Going Home – We return to a ballad with Going Home. It is another good ballad but lacked the boldness that My Ocean thrived upon. The instrumental for this track is a more typical style, with the inclusion of piano, strings and a slight touch of drums in the background. Once again, Sewoon’s voice shines brightly. The raspiness in his vocals was defining in this song. For his young age, it is always surprising to hear such a mature sound from him and that makes this track stand out a little bit more. (8/10)

6. White – Listening to the start, you could tell that the song was going to pick up. The song started off like those live performances where the vocals are being presented over simple guitar instrumentation. And I couldn’t see the song remaining that way for its 3:45 length. So, when the song did pick up, I was extremely glad. And it was a nice pickup, as well. A well-presented melody and the nice soothing instrumental went well with each other. What I didn’t expect was that second pick up where the song becomes even brighter and infused with even more instrumentation. And I love this second rush of energy, which keeps the song interesting in the best way possible. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

Plus Minus Zero Teaser Image

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[Review] Feeling – Jeong Sewoon ft. Penomeco

The second comeback of the day that I wanted to discuss is Jeong Sewoon’s Feeling, which is featured on his fourth mini-album, Plus Minus Zero (also dropped today). The song features Penomeco, an R&B singer and rapper. This is Sewoon’s first comeback since 20 Something, which was released back in July of last year. Since his last comeback, we haven’t much from Sewoon (from what I remember). But I did come across news that he was debuting as a musical actor in a Grease production earlier this year (and I think there are some videos of him performing on a stage somewhere on the internet).  Congratulations to Sewoon for his debut once again!

Sewoon brings back the guitar from his debut single, Just U and plays it very passionately throughout the song. The guitar flourishes within the pop instrumental and it works extremely well with the rest of the instrumentation to create an energetic and upbeat atmosphere. There isn’t a dance performance for this comeback so I will mention it here. Sewoon looks like he is having a lot of fun with the guitar on stage and his interaction with the band surrounding him shows his commitment and willingness for the song. Once again, his vocals are so good in the track. It is extremely hard to really point out anything wrong with his voice. The winning part of the song was when she speaks ‘I Like You‘, right after the first chorus and before launching into an instrumental break. It is so deep and contrasts so well with the rest of the song. Penomeco’s rapping sequence (and vocals) was very cool. It gives a smooth feel to the song and I really liked how his delivery went along with the guitar. I think this is one of the few times that I do agree with the abrupt ending, giving the song that climax it needed at the very end.

At this stage in time, I cannot find the lyrics of the song in English. But I think I have an idea regarding the music video. Essentially, the video shows Sewoon singing about the feeling of love. It seems like he hasn’t confessed to his lover just yet, as we see him sitting from afar and smiling just by being in the presence of his crush. He also gets nervous when he dreams about her. In the end, it seems like he confesses to her and I think we infer that she accepts the confession. I have to admit that Sewoon was rather cute during the music video. His smiles are just so loveable. I also like the band scenes, where Sewoon is seen strumming it out on the guitar. I also like the ‘film’ border that surrounds the music video, kind of like showing his time in the video as a memory to reflect upon in the future.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 9.2/10

[Album Review] Another (3rd Mini Album) – Jeong Sewoon

Finally getting around to completing the album reviews for this week. I haven’t cancelled them (or else I will fall behind even further) so I will be posting 3 album reviews in the span of a few days. This album review is for Jeong Sewoon’s latest mini-album, Another, which I think he has completed promotions for already. So let’s stop wasting time and get on with this album review!

Another Album Cover

1..20 Something (Title Track)Click here for the review of 20 Something. (7.5/10)

2. Waterfall – I think the first thing that grabs me is his husky voices. And  I love the mash-up between the classical piano and the synth-heavy instrumental, which peaks during the chorus. The chorus is quite chaotic but the good kind. There is a sense of order that makes it very aesthetic to listen to. I also like how his vocals manage to be put on display, as his voice could have been pretty much hidden under the chaos. I thought the song had an impact, making it one of my favourites on the album. (9/10)

3. Eye 2 Eye – The song is quite different from the chaos in the second song. It goes for an acoustic approach and shows off the husky nature of his voice even more than the previous song. It is songs like this where the instrumental allows the vocals to shine, allowing you to appreciate the vocals even more. The instrumental was quite ballady, but it had that foot-tapping effect that felt country-like. I love the acapella ending and that very light high note at the start of the final chorus. Also, the song was quite catchy. (9/10)

4. La La – Opening the song was the very surprisingly low tone in his voice, which I thought was extremely nice. It creates some contrast and texture in the song, which I thought gave the song some colour. The instrumental already presents the song with some colour but more is added with the said introduction. I like the build-up to the bridge, but it could have used a high note to really pick it up even more. I would like to see a performance for this song, mainly because it could have been similar to his debut stage (which I actually quite liked). (8.5/10)

5. I Wonder – Once again, we return to a more acoustic sound. The guitar is the only instrument within the instrumental. While that is a little different from the majority of the songs in the industry now, it too does a good job of allowing his vocals to shine. There is a dreamy notion regarding his voice that makes you sway you along. The whistling was quite nice and his falsetto during the final chorus was quite nice. (8/10)

6. Shadow – Once again, we find a song that allows for the vocals to shine. It takes the electronic application and balances it with the acoustic sound, which allows for the vocals to shine. As mentioned, there is a nice balance and I can’t help to think if all the songs on the album build-up to it. The song felt like an OST for some Korean Drama. And while I have mentioned his singing, Sewoon also takes on rapping in this song, which I thought he nailed quite well. Overall, I thought it was a nice song to end the album on. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

Another Teaser Image

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