the short of it: It’s great that Se7en is back and it really is “Better Together,” but that’s about it since most of the songs on the mini-album seemed to have overdosed on auto-tune and electronic/techno beats and sounds.
take-a-fourth:Please do yourself a favor and skip everything but “Better Together” and “I’m Going Crazy.”
TrackList: 1.) Intro-Reset, 2.) Digital Bounce, 3.) Better Together, 4.) I’m Going Crazy, 5.) Money Can’t Buy Me Love, 6.) Drips, 7.) Rollercoaster
All I have to say is: Se7en is freaking backkk! It’s been like what, 4 years since he’s last released something in Korea? He spent 3 years trying to make it on the American music scene and sadly, it didn’t exactly work out. To be honest, I didn’t really think that his venture into American music would come out to any good for so many reasons, none of which had to do with his talent since the one or two songs he did “release” in America were more than decent. Take for instance, “Girls,” which not only featured has-been rapper Lil’ Kim but was also super catchy though the lyrics were kind of superficial and a little blah. Now going back to Se7en in Korea because honestly, who cares if he was unsuccessful in crossing over because he’s back now and better than ever.
So four years ago, when Se7en was still huge on everyone’s kpop radar, he wasn’t exactly on mine. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him or acknowledge his talent and cuteness. It was more like I was so in love with Rain that I just couldn’t have eyes for his “rival,” Se7en. At the time, I conceded that Se7en had better vocals and to a certain degree, a better face, but hotdamn was Rain sexy when dancing and that body, mmmm. Okay, so back to Se7en. Most of the songs that I knew from him were collaborations that he had done with other YG artists at the time such as “Real Luv Story” with Wheesung (who has since left YG/MBoat) and Taebin from 1TYM. That being said, he did release a number of songs that I really enjoy and now consider to be classic kpop songs even though they’re not THAT old (i.e. “Come Back to Me,” “I Know,” “Passion”). Looking back on my kpop journey, I do regret not giving Se7en more props and love but hey, it’s part of the growing experience that most people (though there are a bunch who have yet to mature to this point) have during their kpop “journey”: learning to appreciate all talented artists regardless of whether they’re considered the “rival” of your most FAVORITEST artist ever. I especially regretted it since if you compare the quality of his performances and music to that of a lot of male groups and solo male artists debuting these day, most of them just don’t quite compare.
So when I heard that Se7en was making his comeback, I was EXCITED because I was tired of seeing these male solo singers who were trying to pass themselves as the “next Rain” or “next Se7en” because they just never lived up to these names (that they really shouldn’t have been using as their standards to begin with). I wanted to see what he had to give us after being gone for so long. I must say that with his title single “Better Together,” I was not disappointed AT ALL. His entire mini-album, Digital Bounce, on the other hand, is a whole different story. Let’s look at “Better Together” first. I LOVELOVELOVE this song, even after only the first listen. However, when it first started, I was actually really worried about where it was going since the song starts out with his voice electronized and him kind of sing-talking. But then comes the bridge to the refrain and from then, I’m officially in love with the song. Contrary to what the beginning of the song suggests, the song displays all of Se7en’s strengths: his mad vocal skills, his sexy charisma he portrays in his voice and that natural flow and rhythm he just breathes into the songs he sings. Another thing I enjoy about “Better Together” is the lyrics. They’re not exactly what you’d call deep and moving but they’re super cute and fun with him telling this girl that she has him mesmerized but that if she doesn’t stop playing with him, she’s going to miss out on his hot self [but let’s be real, who’d play you Se7en?!]. No doubt Se7en picked a bomb-ass song to come back with and for so many reasons. It’s catchy, vocally pleasing and just straight up hotness packed into a song.
Even though “Better Together” was a definite WIN for me, his mini-album…not so much. I blame it on the heavy use of auto-tune and electronic beats and sounds. In my opinion, Se7en doesn’t need to try so hard to fit in with the huge auto-tune and electronic/techno trend that’s taking over pop and hip-hop all over the world. For instance, “Drips” and “Rollercoaster,” my two least favorite songs on the album, are just so drugged with auto-tune and weird, unpleasant electronic sounds that just mask any talent in Se7en’s voice. Yeah, the beats may be catchy and actually dope when listened to separately, but when you put it all together, it just kind of hurts and makes me decide to push the “next” button on my iPod. Even “Digital Bounce,” which some people seem to like, is still pretty subpar for me. Where is the unity in this song? Where is the singing Se7en? Most importantly, where is your talent? The only song other than “Better Together” that I can actually say I enjoy listening to is “I’m Going Crazy.” Why do I like it? I like it because it’s reminiscent of his old ballads and really makes his vocals shine. It’s not that I’m asking for his songs to sound like they were before because I think it’s cool for people’s music to evolve with the times. But I wish that Se7en and other people, especially talented ones, wouldn’t use new technology and trends that make them sound like crap just because those things are what’s sexy now.
Again, I think that “Better Together” is sexy, smart and a winner regardless of how it’s doing on the charts. On the other hand, his mini-album ,as a whole, is a big disappointment and that his producers should have made him better songs because a lot of them are pretty low quality. I hope that Se7en [and all artists in general] release more tracks that showcase their talent instead of merely accommodating what’s hot now because in all honesty, its strong vocals that really make you a great, respected and timeless artist, not these passing trends.
*As an aside, the choreo for “Better Together” is hotness and I love watching him perform it on music programs since his live is RIDICULOUS.