[ALT Album Review] Jay Park – Evolution
Alternate Listening Tuesday this week looks at the return of Jay Park, with his first full length album to come from his new label AOMG, earlier this month. Evolution is his second studio album, the first being New Breed, though he has released a multitude of free downloads and official singles too.
Jay Park’s announcement of Evolution came with the exciting news that it would feature an outstanding seventeen tracks, surely very ambitious. Though the revelation of the tracklist showed just why the number of tracks was so high.
Of the seventeen tracks ten had already been released, even if the album boasted remastered versions, and two more were set to be remixes of released tracks, only five tracks would be new and unheard.
This may have left fans of Jay Park a little surprised at the new material only being EP length, though it didn’t take away from the final, finished album play.
Jay shows off his aptitude for music with a strong blend of pop, R&B and hip hop, to map out his own growth. The album explores the staple Kpop themes, love, heartbreak and success. It is also probably no surprise that Jay isn’t at all reluctant to openly feature the lyrical theme often covered in metaphor and innuendo in Kpop, sex.
Evolution is [unsurprisingly] AOMG heavy, the first track, bearing the same name as the album, features GRAY. Much like Jay, GRAY has the ability to blend rap and soulful R&B, and Evolution finds Jay rapping and GRAY providing the melodious chorus.
The title track So Good is the third track of Evolution. The track features Common Ground and the mv features Movement Lifestyle dancers such as Lando Wilkins, Pat Cruz, and Ellen Kim. Another collaboration between AOMG dream team Jay and Cha Cha Malone, So Good is a clear tribute to Michael Jackson, in its funky 80s pop sound, ad-libs, and its choreography.
The album’s other catchy pop tracks come in the form of previously released tracks Joah, I Like 2 Party and Let’s Make Love, all remastered for the album, their subtle improvements apparent to those who know the tracks well.
Track five is the Evolution Pre-Release track The Promise. The Promise proves Jay Park’s credentials in the R&B ballad genre, with an impressive range and strength. Though some might find previous releases such as Ride Me, Secret and Welcome far more appealing.
GGG and Nana (pre-released) present melodious rap, reminiscent of many of his earlier tracks present on his first album New Breed and mixtape FreshA!R:Breath!T. GGG is a well blended of genres, with as much weight as the successful Metronome.
WHO THE F*CK IS YOU featuring B-FREE and TAKE ONE shows off Jay’s true skills in hip hop, with strong beats and rap vocals. As the title suggests this track does feature strong curse words, surrounding this is a tell all commentary on the state of Korean pop, hip hop, and attitude to his own skill.
The other strong hip hop tracks come in the form of Success Crazed, featuring Trinidad James, fellow AOMG CEO Simon Dominic, and AOMG artists GRAY and LOCO; and the remix of Joah track 1HUNNIT. The original featured Illionaire CEO Dok2, though the remix features LOCO and Swings.
One of the album’s closing track is a remastered version of HOT, the song Jay closed his London show with. It is also followed by a Cha Cha Malone remix of the same track.
Evolution may not be filled with new material, but it is a strong show of the talent Jay continues to storm the Korean charts with.
With his position in the Korean Music industry as a Korean America, Jay Park is ‘cool’ and his reach isn’t limited to Korea, just over a week ago Evolution had reached the fifth spot on Billboard’s World Album chart. It is clear why Jay is a break out star in the industry, with his ability to cross genres, touch topics others wouldn’t, and project a cool, masculine image onto Korean music, and importantly – Kpop!