by Catherine Deen | oK Pop< Thu, Mar 17, 2011 11:51 AM PHT
What happens when artists from a well-established Hallyu supergroup decide to experiment?
"GD&TOP" starts off with "Intro," a rap-heavy track that sets the stage for the upcoming musical experience. Both artists initiate the listener to their "ghetto electro" style with unapologetic confidence. "Intro" is seamlessly followed by two extremely danceable hip-hop tracks that were simultaneously released as carrier singles: "High High," a funky radio-friendly track sure to become your next last song syndrome (LSS), and "Oh Yeah," a sizzling uptempo track featuring 2NE1's Park Bom. Both tracks are noteworthy: "High High" incorporates several current radio trends into its hypnotic production, including the high-pitched voice calling "One Two Three," and Park Bom's vocal prowess on "Oh Yeah" threatens to steal the thunder from GD&TOP, but not quite.
The standout track of this album, "Don't Go Home," follows. The irresistible combination of GD's pure vocals and T.O.P.'s impeccable rap make "Don't Go Home" my personal favorite of all "GD&TOP" tracks. Sampling Bread's "Make It With You," "Don't Go Home" ups the dance floor ante with an active brass section and electric guitar sounds reminiscent of Michael Jackson's "Rock With You."
A standard mid-tempo rap ballad "Baby Good Night," follows "Don't Go Home." YG Entertainment produced a video for "Baby Good Night," and this is one instance where the MV helped boost my appreciation for the song, because otherwise, "Baby Good Night" sounds too linear and repetitive to me. There doesn't seem to be any particular highlight in this track. Since this is a hip-hop album after all, it is expected that there is a heavy rap track, and "Knock Out," which follows "Baby Good Night," clearly delivers, with the polished rapping skills of GD&TOP shining all the way through.
"GD&TOP" also includes solo tracks from both artists. G-Dragon's tracks "Nightmare" and "What Do You Want?" remind me of the electronica sounds from his solo debut album. It is interesting how "What Do You Want?" sounds like a trot song. It is a fun song and it seems to me that G-Dragon is singing to his ex-noona girlfriend. T.O.P.'s tracks include "Oh Mom," "Of All Days," and the bonus track "Turn It Up." If there is one rapper who can deliver lyrics with a lot of emotion, it is T.O.P. His distinctive masculine voice never fails to deliver the sentiments behind the lyrics. This is most evident in the track "Oh Mom" where he expresses strong personal angst.
K-Pop fans understand that album packaging greatly contributes to the joy of purchasing a K-Pop album. K-Pop products are not only known for the quality of the music but also for the creativity and photography that the artist puts into the album's packaging. Universal Records, the local distributor of "GD&TOP," did an excellent job in producing the album jacket for this album, which features a 40-page photobook and a hardcover CD jacket. I personally feel the only thing lacking is an official lyrics translation, which I hope Universal Records can include in future K-Pop releases. K-Pop album releases in Taiwan and Japan normally come with official translations. Having this for local fans, many of whom do not speak Korean, would help them appreciate the music even more.
So, did GD&TOP's duo experiment succeed? Judging from sales reports from two of the country's biggest record stores, Astrovision and Odyssey, I'd say it did. "GD&TOP" lords over all other albums on the albums countdown of both stores during the week of its release. Still, the success of an album is not entirely measured by the strengths of its sales. Listening to this album, one could see that the talent and artistry of the duo ensures the long-term success of "GD&TOP."
About Universal Records
- Universal Records
- Quezon City, Philippines
- Universal Records is the NUMBER ONE independent record label in the Philippines. Bringing you quality music for the past 30 years, we are home to artists like: Jose Mari Chan, Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez, Lani Misalucha, Jed Madela, Christian Bautista, Jay R, Billy Crawford, Kris Aquino, Edu Manzano, Marian Rivera, Mark Herras, Nina, Ronnie Liang, Gail Blanco, Sam Concepcion. Our band roster includes: Parokya Ni Edgar, Kamikazee, Sponge Cola, Imago, Silent Sanctuary, Kenyo, Paraluman. We are equally committed to bring you exciting international releases covering various genres like pop, jazz, new age, classical, alternative, indie pop, rock, electronica, dance, r&b, and hip-hop. Name it, we definitely have it!