Sunday, September 2, 2012

[Review] G-Dragon's 'That XX' is 'One of a Kind'

In terms of incorporating variant elements in one piece and composing quality tracks, G-Dragon has to be hands down one of the best idol at composing and producing. Coming from YG, G-Dragon made his official debut under Big Bang in 2006. As a leader of Big Bang, he is at the helm of the production team composing songs for the band alongside T.O.P, who has always written his own rap parts in songs. In the early year under YG, G-Dragon was granted full artistic freedom and found himself among the mix of up and coming YG producers Teddy, Perry and E.knock (Kush). The positive influence clearly showed when G-Dragon and other members of Big Bang were revealed to be the writers and composers for their first studio album 'Big Bang Vol. 1 - 'Since 2007'. From producing critically acclaimed solo debut album Heartbreaker and sub-unit album GD&TOP to 2012's best releases, Alive and Still Alive, G-Dragon has managed to impress everyone with his production skills. As expected, G-Dragon started off his second solo venture with the music video release of the prologue track One Of A Kind on August 24. 

Afterwards, YG released his single That XX on September 1 along with a music video featuring Jennie Kim, a YG trainee set to make her debut in a 6-8 member girl group set to debut early next year. YG Life Blog has posted more info stating that the release of G-Dragon's 1st Mini Album titled One Of A Kind will be slated for online release on September 15 with the physical release to be on September 18. The title track has been revealed to be Crayon, combination of the words Crazy+G-Dragon and short for Crazy On as per AllKpop. I am excited for the mini album's release since the two released track sound great and is a production collaboration between G-Dragon and top YG producer Teddy Park. Read below my review of the two singles and check out some stills from the the two music videos here. Afterwards, leave me with your thoughts about the two tracks.

G-Dragon and YG trainee Jennie Kim in a still from That XX music video. YG Entertainment.
1. One Of A Kind

As a music video release, One Of A Kind is a feast on the ears with its cool synth effects and different layers of tone. Musically, it relates to Knock Out with its smooth layered rap. It does leave you wanting for more, T.O.P feature, but certainly doesn't disappoint. The track is another excellent collaboration after Bad Boy between G-Dragon and YG producer Choice 37 (who is featured in the beginning of the MV alongside Korean-American YG composer Lydia Paek). The different variations of 'Hello' were really catchy and despite being an aggressive track, the track had a very laid-back feel due to the squeaky clean production. The beginning thumping beats were really strong sprinkled with G-Dragon rapping
Just wild and young
I'm just wild and young
Do it just for fun
The beat is prevalent throughout with other catchy tunes and spoken word sprinkled on top. This Hip-Hop styled single is without a doubt the most lyrically arrogant G-Dragon has appeared but his accomplishments makes us forget that he is just 24 years of age and still developing. Truthfully, I don't really like beat-heavy songs but this song was just right to the touch. Overall, I'm excited for what G-Dragon has in store for us this time around and this release just raises the expectations.


I thought the music video was a perfect match for the track and as always, YG choose a style that does the lyrics of the song perfect justice. The little kids calling each other on the thread telephone line was a sweet moment and everyone in the video donned heavy accessories. I understand that they wanted G-Dragon's hairstyle as amusing as it was but that doesn't stop me from questioning some of the hairstyle choices that stylists at YG have made. Particularly on Taeyang, even though he manages to look cool even with a Mickey-Mouse hairstyle. I do like the recent hairstyles on T.O.P though. All things aside, check out the MV below if you haven't already:

The music video was entertaining with good representations of the lyrics, and who wasn't happy about Taeyang making a cameo. To know about some of the symbolism in the video, I recommend this excellent post by a fellow blogger at 'Hallyu Guru'. (Click Here)
  • Squeaky clean production takes the track to another level
  • Aggressive beats yet a laid-back feel makes it hard to forget
  • Accompanied by a music video that lines up perfectly with the lyrics
Rating - 4.3/5
2. That XX
I was already hooked onto One Of A Kind when this track dropped and I was just blown away. It is one thing for G-Dragon to be able to produce signature YG tracks but a whole another thing to piece together a beautiful acoustic track that perfectly fits him. Everything is blended in perfectly in this one track, a melodic guitar background with a soothingly awesome rap in the end. The rap sound indie-ish and something you would want to play in the background sitting in a cafe on a rainy day. That's the picture that came to my mind even though I don't drink coffee, it's just that it has that type of feel. Similar in fashion with piercing lyrics to an acoustic blend to Blue, That XX is a masterpiece that G-Dragon voluntarily rated 19+, saddening many fans in South Korea for a moment, though I am sure that didn't stop them from listening to it. (Just like me, Haha. Shh...)

G-Dragon in a still from the music video for That XX. YG Entertainment.
Read what YG had to say about the track: taken from their Official MV.
"THAT XX" is the first released single following the intro "ONE OF A KIND" from G-DRAGON'S new album. G-DRAGON delivers a melancholy acoustic guitar driven song that yearns for his secret crush to see he is the one. The M/V also features a appearance by new YG artist Jennie Kim.
The lyrics and the composition a result of G-Dragon and Teddy collaboration, the single is so well produced that it leaves hallowing sound and props to Teddy for arranging such a wondrous track. Competition wise, I think no one comes close to Teddy in terms of how he is able to make each song sound so different yet adding the fundamental element that makes each song a masterpiece. His work on 2ne1's 2nd Mini Album has got to be his finest but he keeps on setting the bar higher and higher. Going from 2ne1's trot-techno fused I Love You to this release; he reveals his asset that is his ability in being able to give each track a unique flavor without establishing a set medium. That XX might be one of the best G-Dragon song and certainly the one that makes me feel most overwhelmed. Therefore, it was no surprise that it became the first song rated 19+ to achieve an 'all-kill' and later achieving the high honor of 'perfect all-kill' which means the song blew fellow competition out of the water with its awesomeness and maintained the #1 position all day. YG is on some serious roll this year and that's great news to music lovers everywhere.

The music video for the track features Jennie Kim whom YG has revealed to be of 16 years of age. YG released the following video introducing her which also features her rapping in English. I've heard many criticisms that her rap wasn't that powerful but I felt she was above average even though she has some improvements to make. Plus, it has to be difficult rapping in English, especially to B.o.B's Strange Clouds.

I thought the music video was just terrific, with a classic touch that showed a moving picture and conveyed heart-breaking emotions. It certainly was a good PR decision in featuring Jennie Kim from the upcoming YG girl group and the classic touch of the video made her desirable without exposing too much. A perfectly executed show-and-tell without telling much. She looked stunning and innocent as should be the case of a talented 16 year old. Sigh! (Usually let out when a girl sees a younger girl accomplishing things she didn't even have the courage to dream of). All kidding aside, I am seriously anticipating YG debuting the vocal dream band SuPearls and the yet to be named band everybody refers to as 'YG New Girl Group' that Jennie Kim will be a member of.

Artistically, the music video was simply stunning and a breath of fresh-air. There were two sets of lighting in each instant showing the faces in different lights which could be an indication of the many facets of human character. There are some good posts about its meanings around the web, so be sure to check those out. I thought the best job the music video did was depicting the innocence of Jennie Kim's character, for which she should also get some props. The set was beautiful, especially at the part when we see G-Dragon rapping while walking melancholily along an empty street with the clouds right beside him. Final Words: It was simply beautiful.
  • One of the best solo release of G-Dragon to date.
  • The acoustic guitar tune and the rap in the end sounds great.
  • G-Dragon and Teddy deliver yet again with this hit and achieve a perfect all-kill.
  • A music video that does that shows the beauty of Jennie Kim and GD.
Rating - 4.8/5
What were thoughts on these two tracks?

[Rating for One of a Kind (Album) -- 4.4/5.0] 

Buy G-Dragon's One of a Kind on Itunes here.

[Videos Source: bigbang, yg family @ Youtube]
[Lyrics Source: Popgasa]

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