Well the “week of Jonghyun” (as I like to call it) is drawing to a close, and we now have the full “Base” album available to purchase as of January 12th. Jonghyun certainly did his part to promote this release; his Twitter was blowing up with updates and hints, he played his full album on his radio show, MBC’s “Blue Night,” and we were hit with teaser photos and videos right and left it seemed.
So, the big question then is this: does “Base” live up to all the hype? Well, read on, and I’ll tell you. The album has a total of 7 tracks, (well, actually, there’s eight, but the mystery track “Fortune Cookie” is only available to those with a physical copy) and I will give you the breakdown of each one.
The first track is called “Deja-Boo,” which features Zion.T. This was the pre-release track, and I’ve been listening to it quite a bit since Jonghyun revealed it on “Blue Night.” The song is catchy, straight up. It’s got a funky groove that you can jam to, and has a feel that’s a little bit reminiscent of Jamiroquai and other groups of that genre. This particular track is written and composed by Jonghyun himself, as is the majority of the rest of the album, and if you’re even remotely familiar with his composing style, you can tell instantly that this has Jonghyun written all over it. Personally, I can’t get enough of this song, and I guarantee it’ll get stuck in your head.
Next up is the title track, “Crazy,” which came with a music video that I’m 99.9% certain broke everyone’s ovaries. Chains, gas masks, abs, fireworks. Doesn’t get much better than that. But all that aside, what about the song in and of itself? Now, I realize there was a lot of controversy with this track. SM had revealed that it was going to be a “neo-punk” infused track, and with that in conjunction with the very dark teaser, I think many fans were expecting a rock track, or something a bit on the harder side. That is not what we got, but it my opinion, what we got is much better. This song screams sensual; Jonghyun’s voice just reels you in with his killer falsetto in the chorus, and the harmonies just grab you and never let you go. Iron is a perfect addition to the song, executing his rap perfectly and giving it just that extra kick that the song needed. This track might be my favorite, or at least it’s definitely up there.
Track number three is “Hallelujah,” and let me tell you, the song is aptly named. The song captures the reverent feel of the title, nice and slow, with minimal accompaniment at first to let Jonghyun’s voice shine. The chorus will blow your mind, there’s no other way to put it. He’s got a choir backing him up, and the song just builds and builds to a climax that will leave you breathless. It’s almost as if the whole song is one big crescendo, adding more and more intensity right up to the end. It will give you chills, no lie. Wheesung assisted in writing the lyrics, which speaks of the one who’s perfect in your eyes and renders you in awe. It’s quite impactful, and is a must listen.
Next up is “Love Belt,” which features “Younha.” This was another pre-release track, so I’ve listened to it quite a few times. It’s got such a pleasant, lilting rhythm, and Younha’s voice is a perfect addition to the overall soothing feeling that this song projects. This is another catchy tune, definitely more of a slow jam. Both of their voices are very subdued, almost like whispering in your ear. It’s a bit repetitive, but I think that fits the overall picture that the song projects. This song does not “blow me away” so to speak, but I don’t think it’s designed to. It’s a sweet concession of love and the need for someone, and a gentle track to balance out some of the more intense ones.
“Neon” is next. Good grief, this track really did sneak up on me. I wasn’t amazed with it at first, but Jonghyun said, “hang on, listen to the whole song, girl,” and I agreed. It’s a bit more mid-tempo, straight up funk, and Jonghyun really breaks out the jazzy vocals. This track has what I’ve been waiting the whole album to hear; those well-known belted high notes we all know the man has. He has a four-octave range for crying out loud, and I want to hear him use it! And use it he does. The bridge kicks in and he just starts singing so powerfully, it just sucks you right in. This is a must listen as well, do NOT skip over this track, you’ll regret it!
And, track number 6, we have “MONO-Drama.” Another more subdued track, this one has a similar message that SHINee’s “Symptoms” had, about longing and unrequited love. This song does not have quite the impact that “Symptoms” had, after all, it’d be nearly impossible to replicate the pure awesome that is that song, but it stands well enough on its own. I do wish it had a bit more of the heart-wrenching feel to it, but Jonghyun sings it very emotionally nonetheless. This is another R&B track, and adds to the retro feel that the whole album seems to have.
And now, on to the bonus track, “It’s Late (Beautiful Tonight).” I cannot express in words how happy I was when I saw this was on the tracklist. I LOVE this song, I have ever since he played it on “Blue Night” some months ago. This song, is best described by the phrase “sex on a stick.” Seriously. It’s so funky, and you can just tell Jonghyun is having a blast singing it. The melody just sounds like something you could groove out to, and his voice has that perfect amount of husky added to give you chills. And that falsetto at the end just knocks me flat every time. This song will forever be one of my faves, and if you listen to it, I think you’ll agree.
So, in conclusion, does “Base” live up to its’ hype? For me, the answer is a resounding YES. It may not be what everyone was expecting, but Jonghyun was allowed to have a hand in everything on the album, it’s his own creation, and he knows better then anyone what’s best for him. The whole thing has a throwback R&B funk feel, which fits Jonghyun’s voice to a tee. There’s a track or two that don’t blow me away, but all in all, it’s a well-rounded album that shows a lot of diversity, as well as Jonghyun’s versatility. If I were to give it a rating, it’s 9 out of 10 for me.
Have you had an opportunity to listen to “Base?” It’s available on ITunes now, and I highly recommend buying it and listening for yourself. You can thank me later.
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Edited by: LeighDarling
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