On April 13th, IZM releases an article which delved into the 12 tracks of Seungyoon’s 1st full album [PAGE] and how these walked us through Seungyoon’s musical journey and growth since joining SuperStar K2. Music critic Lee Hong Hyun rated the album 3.5 overall.
Founded in 2001, IZM is known as the largest and largely popular music magazine which publishes pop music reviews, articles, and interviews with artists.
IZM Review: [PAGE] by KANG SEUNGYOON (2021)
In his first solo full album, Kang Seungyoon fully unfolds his talent that has remained unchanged and unrestrained by his group. At the age of 17, Kang Seungyoon appeared in <SuperStarK2>, attracting people with his mature vocals that belied his age. After <WIN>, YG’s group audition program, he’s been active as the leader and songwriter of WINNER. His career that has been built through group activities is not only a commercial success but also records his attempts to try various genres like hip-hop and dance. His first full album <PAGE> is the culmination of all those experiences – sailing back to the past, while also confronting himself more honestly than ever. Being fully in charge of songwriting, it is a piece of work which has his mark all over the credits and shows his desire as a singer-songwriter who focuses on the voice and mind of the artist.
The main structure is a rock genre based on live sessions. The guitar is placed as a central instrument as if it summons the old Kang Seungyoon who sang with a guitar at the audition program. It draws a picture that effectively shines a spotlight on his rough and tough voice. ‘IYAH’, the title with an older vibe, ‘WE NEED LOVE’, an upbeat rock arrangement, and also ‘WERE WE?’, with its refreshing acoustic sound are representative of the album’s mood. And here is where his vocals come in to add strength to the work. Through training, his solid foundation and mature voice have blossomed to an even more confident sound . His voice color changes fluidly with each track; he playfully sings of love and defiance in ‘WE NEED LOVE’ and then shows his calm baritone voice with a simple piano in ‘BRUISE’. His ability to manipulate his voice immediately proves the value of his solo.
As mentioned by the artist himself, this album is a memoir which looks back on the 10 years of his music career. The emotions he felt through the years are written on every page and those pages connect to his growth. ‘IYAH’ reveals his warm, human side, as he revisits his innocent childhood and his present self as a celebrity in the music video, comforting his still immature self. The latter part of the album feels like a process that shows his feelings of inadequacy gradually being alleviated. He howls ‘I hate you to death’ in ‘365’ and then shows his maturity as he calmly swallows his sorrow in ‘TREAD ON ME’ and ‘HEY RAIN’. What seems to be a common love song is actually about himself. It seems every song is a message to himself, to help relieve the emotions the artist has once felt. The stories of agony and love can be boring but his own wit, as seen in the lyrics of ‘CAPTAIN’ or ‘HEY RAIN’, makes the ordinary, extraordinary.
Above all, what left the deepest impression is that he was able to integrate WINNER’s color, the color that he obtained through his experience of group activities, into the album. The production by YG producers, like AiRPLAY and Kang Ukjin with whom he has built solid teamwork through collaboration over a long time, adds popular appeal with clear pop tracks in the middle section of the album. The light beat and ear-catching rap by Wonstein in ‘SKIP’, the sly mood of ‘OBVIOUS’ supported by Simon Dominic shows Seungyoon’s identity as a hip-hop dance singer. The concept of ‘pathetic ex-boyfriend’ in ‘BETTER’ with his member, MINO, reveals the strong color of WINNER. YG’s own strong style creates great synergy with Kang Seungyoon’s personality, forming a subtle balance between the idol and the solo musician. That the overall melody has simple and catchy rhythms instead of huge drops is also a positive result of what he has learned by being in YG.
Of course, all these things are neither new nor unique to him. The theme of youth or sound of natural rock can be commonly found in other singer-songwriters and indie bands. The artist’s wide spectrum spanning from rock to trendy hip-hop music is made possible only by his ability to catch onto trends quickly, yet at the same time not losing his own personality. The autobiographical theme to his songs, and a sensitivity to melody in most of his songs makes me think he has nearly everything it takes to be a Singer-Songwriter. Kang Seungyoon shows in his album that despite being an idol at the forefront of commercialism, being active in a group can actually play the part of helping one to branch out, and not something that diminishes a singer’s own personal identity. It seems that there is no point in worrying over the moves of a talented musician.
- IYAH *recommend*
- WE NEED LOVE *recommend*
- SKIP (Feat. Wonstein) *recommend*
- OBVIOUS (Feat. Simon Dominic)
- BETTER (with MINO) *recommend*
- WERE WE? *recommend*
- TREAD ON ME
- HEY RAIN
- IYAH (Feat. Yoon Jong Shin)
Review by Lee Hong Hyun
Original Korean Article: IZM