Album Review: Ga-in – “Talk About S.”

This is the second solo mini-album from Ga-in, who is a member of the Nega Network girl group Brown Eyed Girls. It was released on October 5, 2012.

A simple and pretty cover. I like the pink font and the setup of the scene (i.e. bed) reflects the themes of the album well.

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When I saw the title 팅커벨 (Tinkerbell) I was expecting something cutesy and light – which was almost the exact opposite of how this song actually sounded. Though it’s only 3 minutes, 15 seconds long, this opening track stuffs as many seemingly discordant sounds and instruments, overlapping doctored vocals, acoustic AND electric guitar, random banging and microseconds of silence, sometimes all at once. It’s not really a “vocal” song but it definitely calls our attention to the unique style that we’ll be hearing for the rest of the album. I guess when you think about it, you can hear a little bit of mischievous Tinkerbell-esque attitude in there. Definitely an interesting opening track.

그녀를 만나 (TIREDNESS) (Geunyeoreul manna; Meet Her) took us in a totally different direction and set me up for a surprise once again with its title. The song begins with a jazzy-sounding piano and sassy vocal from Ga-in, and subsequently unfolds into the much poppier-sounding chorus complete with synths and dancey beat. Ga-in’s vocals on this song are really on point and I was impressed by the catchiness of the chorus. The bridge also has this beautiful, diminutive melody to it, which I liked a lot especially in contrast to the key change in the final chorus. Overall, this song made me wanna sing along, and you know a song is good when it has that effect.

Here we have the lead single and heavy hitter of the album, 피어나 (Pieona; Bloom). An effervescent love song, this sassy discotheque anthem might actually be one of the most interesting K-Pop tracks of the year. From the guitars, to the driving drum track and the uplifting backing vocals, this song listens like a really happy musical, to say nothing of Ga-in’s vocal (which is spectacular). Also worth noting is the fact that, although it’s not really singable to the average person, this song is incredibly catchy, especially the “You’re my wonderland / You’re my whole new world” part in the chorus. The only bone I have to pick with Ga-in herself on this song is that she gets a little breathy at times, but I guess from a stylistic perspective that adds to the song’s sensual charm. Anyway, yeah. GREAT song.

I’m totally digging the laid-back feeling in 시선 (feat. 윤종신) (Shiseon; The Gaze). The contrast between the gritty beat and guitar and the mysterious keyboard is so interesting, I couldn’t stop focusing on it. Ga-in and Jong-shin have a nice thing going on – I wouldn’t call it harmony because there’s none of that in the song, really, but their voices sound pretty nice in unison. Not as exciting as the previous song, but it’s super relaxing and pleasant to listen to.

Okay, I’m just gonna say it up front: Catch Me If You Can sounds almost alarmingly similar to “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson. IT REALLY, REALLY DOES. But other than that, this is a pretty catchy song (ha, punny). Although I can’t tell if that’s because it’s a good song on its own or because it sounds so similar to an already existing song that is catchy. I’m not sure? Anyway, I like this song and it was a short and sweet way to end the mini album.

Summary: I’m not as much a fan of Brown Eyed Girls as I am of the group members’ solo projects, but this is going under the BEG sub-category anyway. Like I’ve said before in previous reviews, I think it’s harder generally to pull off a strong mini album than a strong LP, but thankfully Ga-in passes with flying colors. Every song does this amazing thing where it succeeds in juxtaposing disparate elements and making them sound great together, and as a result no single track is bad. Ga-in has an excellent voice and a distinctive style to her music, and both of those things are well on display on this mini. And hey, a little controversy don’t hurt either.

Album Grade: A
Recommended Tracks:
피어나 | 시선 | 그녀를 만나 (TIREDNESS)

2 thoughts on “Album Review: Ga-in – “Talk About S.”

  1. 팅커벨 is definitely an interesting opening track no? But I feel like it caught my attention WAY less but I really love 피어나. The MV, beat and lyrics was perfect for Gain.

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