written by: drowningn00b
When news hit the interwebs that “Korean Midas” John Young Park, aka JYP, would be making a comeback to the music scene after 3 years since “Sad Freedom,” several thoughts entered my mind, and they were the following:
- Isn’t he still peddling Miss A’s adolescent bodies in negligées?
- He’s nowhere near the age of the idols, so who would he feature on his material?
- I do like “Honey”, though, even if it is Kim Jo Han’s over sung version from “I Am A Singer”
- Wonder Girls’ “So Hot” wasn’t bad either.
Clearly I was conflicted. JYP is at that age where he’s an ajossi, and in the negative connotation. He can’t perform songs about falling in love with the girls of Miss A, or falling out of love with the guys from 2AM. He’s been through a relationship, a marriage, then a divorce, and as a single man, his onstage persona cannot include teenagers. But I am a fan of the man’s work. When he does it right, it’s awesome. So how would this work, exactly – this comeback of his? A glimpse of this came with his collaboration with YG loverboy, SE7EN, for the song “When I Can’t Sing”, and now he’s back with “Someone Else” with Brown Eyed Girls’ Ga-In. Baby-faced though she is, Ga-In is an adult, so any possible pedo references can be thrown aside. Now onto the song.
I was surprised! I thought this style of R&B had left the mainstream years ago and only exists now in hip-hop love songs. Clearly JYP loves this style, because “Someone Else” is a throwback R&B ballad that’s easily translated to a live performance. The bass line is fantastic, intensifying the drum beat and bringing the song somewhere between a ballad and a mid-tempo track. JYP’s voice isn’t the best out there, but his style on this song brings the right amount of longing and urging. For someone who hasn’t performed in years, the level of control in his voice is pretty good. As the female perspective, Ga-In was the perfect choice. The last time I heard her deliciously deep register was a year and half ago on her solo debut, “Irreversible”, and more distinctly several years before that, on Brown Eyed Girls’ “Tagger” ballad. Ga-In’s delivery doesn’t rise to harmonize alongside JYP’s higher register, but allowed to float along without restraint. If there’s one thing JYP deserves credit is his handling of voices to sound right, and he brought that touch to “Someone Else”.
I fell for this song on first listen. JYP has a knack for this style of R&B and I’m glad he stuck to his guns for “Someone Else”. He has a propensity for stubbornness in that approach (see all the JYP-produced tracks for Wonder Girls), but it works here because no one is doing that right now. The nostalgic throwback style of “Someone Else”, the contrast between JYP and Ga-In, and the simplicity in the production is a good primer for what to expect from the legendary producer for his upcoming release. But to quote RuPaul, “…and don’t f&^k it up.”