[Album Review] SUGAR (2nd Mini Album) – YOUNGJAE (GOT7)

Youngjae’s second mini-album, SUGAR, released mid June is the next album to be reviewed. I think, by now, you can tell I am not sticking to any particular order for these album reviews. I am just posting the ones that I have completed, and so longer albums (i.e., those that are studio length) will be published later. For now, I will be looking into SUGAR, Youngjae’s latest mini-album release that features the title of the same name and four other side tracks. SUGAR (both the mini-album and title track) follows Youngjae’s debut mini-album Colors from Ars, and title track Vibin’, from October of last year.

As you can see, I didn’t review Youngjae’s debut mini-album. So I promised to myself that I would review a future release from Youngjae, subjected to the usual vetting process that I have for the album review segment of the blog (i.e. an initial listen to see if the album has much to talk about and/or is worth writing a review for), and I was quite satisfied that SUGAR was good enough for an album review following the vetting process. In addition to the catchy and fun title track from SUGAR, there are a few other strong tracks that I would recommend you tune in for when listening to this mini-album. Read on to find out which songs these are.

SUGAR Album Cover

1. SUGAR (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for SUGAR. (8/10)

2. FocusFocus carries forward the upbeat nature of SUGAR, this time mixing the likes of R&B and pop together to create a very satisfying track. I really liked how Focus didn’t feel heavy or serious. It has this laidback vibe and a fun tone to it. The energy, Youngjae’s vocals and melodies from Focus made me smile, and I also have a small boogie very now and then when the song hits just right. An instant favourite for me. (9/10)

3. Crema – Youngjae dives deeper into the R&B genre with Crema. Parts of the instrumentation feature a coffee house like vibe or dreamy orchestral, but other parts just have some extra bass that just doesn’t fit that environment. Regardless of which part of the song, there is still a nice upbeat kick to the song that helps the song not feel so dry. Youngjae’s vocals are smooth throughout the song. (8/10)

4. NothingNothing slows down the album slightly further with this nice track. While this song isn’t as great as the other, it was still extremely likeable and pleasant to enjoy. I really liked the swayable melodies of Nothing, and I liked how the orchestral instrumentation plays a bigger part in the song. Youngjae does a fantastic job with his vocals, providing a warming and comforting pillow to rest your head on whilst listening to this song. (8/10)

5. With You – With the continuous slow down of momentum as the album progressed, it came as no surprise to me that the final song on the album was a ballad. This is the type of ballad that I found myself sitting extremely still and had my eyes closed to really take it all in, particularly when it came to the chorus. That is another sign of a good ballad, in my opinion. The orchestral instrumentation, which is the main player in the background this time around, was beautiful. And Youngjae was so captivating. With You is my pick for hidden gem on this mini-album. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

SUGAR Teaser Image

[Review] SUGAR – Youngjae (GOT7)

Making this solo comeback last week was Youngjae with his second mini-album and title track, both of which are titled SUGAR. This is his second comeback following his solo debut with Vibin’ in October of last year (his first was via the winter single Walk With Me, which I didn’t review). Youngjae’s solo comeback also follows GOT7’s recent long awaited return to the industry, to which Youngjae and all his fellow members participated in, after almost 1.5 years absence from the industry.

SUGAR has yet to really catch on like how Vibin’ did. But more time could change that. And based on what I am going to be saying in this review, I expect that it will. Nonetheless, SUGAR has proven to be an extremely enjoyable track. The funky pop instrumental made up of pronounced guitars was quite consistent throughout the song. While consistency has been an issue in the past for some songs, the consistency issue is not really a thing here in SUGAR. This is thanks to the guitar work, which is so vibrant and punchy that it offsets any consistency concerns. That being said, there is also a bit of trap thrown into the mix for the second verse and finger clicks in the bridge that gives some variety to the background. SUGAR features strong vocals from Youngjae, whose tone matches the vibrancy of the guitar in the instrumental. It really allows him to pop out in the song. He also adds a bit of sweetness to the song, which works really well with the title of the song. His ad-libs at the end channels a fair bit of energy, as well, creating a dynamic end. Youngjae also tries his hand at rapping for the second verse. It was a fair effort. I do think maybe a featuring rapper could have made it more dynamic and enticing, but Youngjae did well on his own. I quite like how he handled the ‘That’s how you do it‘ line midway through the second verse. The melodies of SUGAR were also quite catchy and enjoyable. Overall, SUGAR is a nice follow-up single to his debut track.

The video starts off a bit dark, with Youngjae awakening from a slumber at the dinner table, just in time to see a female presence leave the room. He has a flashback of the nights event, and runs after the female. We are then shown what happened. The day started very bright and outside. He seeks the attention of the female character from the beginning of the video, trying his best to look cool (which I personally think he achieved, but that might be my bias for him talking now). He then throws a classy dinner party. He is so infatuated by the female character (as expressed in the lyrics). and continues his cool streak that he fails to catch on her efforts of putting him to sleep. The motive is unclear, but I guess she and her friends want to have a good time at the expense of Youngjae (who in the credits is shown asleep, while everyone else has fun at his party). I quite enjoyed the chemistry that Youngjae had with the camera throughout the video, looking quite confident and cheeky. The settings were also really nice.

Like in the music video, I quite like how charismatic he is on stage. It creates a strong atmosphere for the performance. Aside from that, I liked the energy he and the dancers channel throughout the performance. Nothing really stood out, until the end, where he pushes through the dancer dramatically. That I felt was a cool moment.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.1/10

[Review] Vibin – Youngjae (GOT7)

After seven years, the members of GOT7 are finally getting their well deserved solo careers. Some members were able to make their own solo start prior to leaving JYP Entertainment, but other members had to wait until after they were released left to begin their solo journeys. Youngjae was one of the final members of the seven to go solo, kicking it all off with his acting debut in the Netflix sitcom So Not Worth It. Today sees the release of Youngjae’s solo debut mini-album, Colors, and the title track Vibin.

Due to his status as GOT7’s main vocalist, I was expecting to hear the title track to go down the typical direction of R&B or a ballad. So it caught me by surprise when I heard something upbeat in the teasers for this song last week. Vibin is a very neat pop track that is extremely pleasant. For this review, I use the term ‘pleasant’ in a positive manner, as I quite enjoyed Vibin. I liked the subtleness of the funky elements in the song, which definitely made the song more energetic and fun-sounding. A lot of songs nowadays are very upfront with their retro or funky profile. There is nothing wrong with being upfront, as this is how the retro and funkiness can be its most impactful. But in Vibin, holding back on those elements, almost felt refreshing. I also like the wholesome feel of the song, and that is all thanks to Youngjae’s vocals in Vibin. He just imparts that feeling onto you with his clear vocals. I also liked the energy he brings via the vocals to the song, which compliments the dance pop nature of the song. The repetitive hooks for Vibin are also quite catchy. If I had to be critical, I do think the hooks could have been taken a step further. I also think that Vibin could have been improved with some sort of textural element. The song had this constant smoothness to it (which was very appreciable), but it could have been balanced out. Overall, I think Youngjae’s solo debut single sounds well done and is a decent showing of his skills.

I think the music video did a good job of encapsulating the vibes and tones of the song. The outdoor scenery, even though was very desolate, felt refreshing and breezy. I guess this was the movement of the camera, especially when Youngjae is driving, that allows that feeling to come through. I think the sun and the denim outfit also adds to that vibe. In the more darker scenes, there is this golden aura that felt appropriate and kept the video from being overtaken from the darkness. The glow from the lighting also helped here. Content wise, I do think the video falls on the dry side. But overall, a decent music video.

Based on the challenges on TikTok and the snippets of the choreography in the music video, the choreography isn’t that overly complicated, which matches with the straightforward nature of the song. I also like the energy he brings to his performance (based on what I saw in the music video), as he is literally all smiles throughout the performance, which comes off very positively on the viewer. I am also excited for his pairing with the female dancer. Looks like an interesting dynamic.

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