More time jumping, but this time is back to the past with a catch up review. This particular post focuses on Lee Eun Sang’s solo comeback Lemonade, which was released at the start of September. Lemonade is featured on his second single album, titled Beautiful Sunshine. It is also the first comeback by the soloist since his solo debut with Beautiful Scar last year, which also featured fellow labelmate Park Woojin (from AB6IX).
To me, Lemonade is another song that I would describe as pleasant at best. I think if I had sat down and reviewed the song when it first came out, I would have raved about its pleasantness and calming nature in a positive light. But now that the song has aged a few weeks, I feel like whatever effect that Lemonade was intended to have on the listener has fizzled out. Think of a flat lemonade soda, this is what Lemonade now feels like. This doesn’t make Lemonade a terrible song in my point of view, rather it just didn’t hold its ground. Vocally, I thought there was a degree of sweetness in this element. And while I am convinced that sweetness is still present, I do think Lee Eun Sang’s vocals would have been more appealing had there be some insertion of personality (I felt the same way about Beautiful Scar). They felt typical and lacked much energy. Similarly, the same could be said with the instrumentation. Initially, I would describe Lemonade‘s backing as bubbly. But now that I think about it. more vibrancy in the consistent strumming we hear in the chorus would have emphasised this. I did like the synth drums, as they did add some flair, but it was not enough to really consolidate and concentrate the vibrancy. Hook-wise and melody-wise, I think Lemonade still had these elements come through as I do remember them more somewhat compared to the rest of the song, but had the vocals and instrumental been more so what I mentioned above, I am sure the hook/melodies of Lemonade would have been enhanced. So overall, more could have been done to really help Lemonade become and stay appealing.
Concept wise, this is 180 degree flip in terms of concept when we compare Lee Eun Sang’s two solo works. Here, Lee Eun Sang looks much more youthful and the concept is a lot more casual and brighter. It fits the Summer season quite nicely and works well with the song. Unfortuately, I didn’t see anything special within this music video. And honestly, I haven’t gone back to watch it since it was first released. I personally prefer the more mature side of Lee Eun Sang and thought his last solo music video was a lot more interesting to watch.
The performance is more so the same as the music video in terms of concept. It fits well with the song. But like the music video, I didn’t see anything special within the performance (though I did like the squeezing move they had in the chorus). That being said, I did think there was added layer of vibrancy in the choreography, which pulled me towards the performances, rather than the music video.
Song – 6/10 Music Video – 5/10 Performance – 6/10 Overall Rating – 5.7/10
When I think all the members of X1 had made their re-debut in some capacity, another member pops up with their new release. The next former member of the now disbanded project group to debut is Lee Eun Sang, who debuted earlier this week as a solo artist. He is currently signed to Brand New Music, the home of famous Korean hip-hop artists, AB6IX and BDC. His solo debut, Beautiful Scars, comes roughly one year after X1 made their debut with Flash.
Beautiful Scar is a R&B hip-hop track, which is pretty much no surprise to me, given that this is Brand New Music’s forte. The instrumental is quite heavy thanks to the bass and serious nature of the song. It does lack character and personality, as it feels pretty typical and alike any other R&B hip-hop track. There really isn’t anything ‘new’ about Beautiful Scar that we haven’t heard before. Interestingly, I am not too troubled by the consistency of this song. By being consistent, Beautiful Scar ended up being sophisticated, refined and mature. However, I was lowkey expecting a change up or a breakdown along the way that still fits the mature R&B hip-hop nature of this song. I felt like that would have given the song that much needed flair and allow Lee Eun Sang to show off his character a little more, let it be in song or in performance. I guess Park Woo Jin’s featuring was the mechanism of this, as I thought his rapping delivery and flow was really good. They was a captivating energy coming from his section alone and I would personally seek out this song for Park Woo Jin. Though, this is a bit harsh for the main artist of the track. However, I do think Lee Eun Sang did a pretty decent job with this as his solo debut track. His vocals are solid throughout Beautiful Scar. His debut song just lacks that mentioned personality and also some strong hooks/melodies that would make the song bold and memorable.
The song’s sophisticated and refined profile was brought over into the visual aspect of this comeback. The music video is just this and I really quite enjoyed it. The hotel lobby was a really good choice to shoot in and the lighting during his scene was on point. I also liked the darker sets in which the choreography shots were also shot in. There seems to be some symbolism throughout the music video, such as the butterfly and a kaleidoscope. Not sure what these mean exactly, though I assume the kaleidoscope is in reference to the fake love he experienced (i.e. nothing he looked at was what it seems). Also thumbs up for Park Woo Jin’s featuring the music video as well. You probably know that it is my wish to have featuring artists featured in the music video. It just makes the whole experience better. Though in this case, I guess featuring artists are a lot easier to invite if it is done in-house.
Lee Eun Sang does not look nervous during his first performance. I applaud him for that, especially since it has been almost a year since his previous debut and he has had a lengthy break in between. Plus going solo is always a big step in one’s career. As for the choreography, I really liked the whole routine. It wasn’t anything too crazy. But it looks refined enough to still be impressive looking.
Song – 7/10 Music Video – 8/10 Performance – 8/10 Overall Rating – 7.5/10