20150828_seoulbeats_vixxlr_tracklist_leo_raviVIXX has been gaining steam to continually push themselves forward. Now with K-pop idols broadening their international fan base to the United States, they performed in North America not too long after their debut at Otakon and KCON in 2012, it is difficult to submerge into K-pop without hearing the group’s name.

Not very often, sub-units happen in a three year span. Usually when a group is more established or when members go off to serve in the army, that is when collaboration efforts within the group rises. Despite that, Jellyfish Entertainment has debuted VIXX’s first sub-unit, VIXX LR, which contains Leo and Ravi, a vocalist and rapper tandem.

With their debut came a mini album entitled Beautiful Liar, sharing the name of their title track. The album opens up with an emotional song that skirts VIXX’s music style slightly, but jumps right into LR’s sound. The song speaks of letting go of a love because it is seen as the better choice for their significant other. Even so, the one who makes the decision is left with the struggle of either to truly accept the actions he has taken or go back on his word to hold onto who is dear to him. Also, an important question is raised: do you lie to protect yourself or to save someone else?

I’m letting go of your tightly held hands
But my heart is still the same
But I’ll let you go
I’m letting go of your hands
But my heart is still the same
I think it’s best for you
if I end it right here

I’m a beautiful
No, a cowardly liar

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VFyoTSvDws&w=560&h=315]

Keeping within the same tempo (not too fast or slow of a change), the piano that left in the previous track leads into the second song, “Remember.” It seems to be a direct follow-up to the one before it.  The breakup in this song at first seems mutual but as it continues, you discover that she left him, alluding to the final decision of what occurred in “Beautiful Liar.”

Memories come in forms of what could have and should have been. But what’s done is done and both parties must move on. But in reality, do they?  One side reflects on their past relationship while toying with the idea to return to what they have. Even questions of regret, trying to remember the good times, wondering if you’re in the other’s thoughts is all inclusive here. To wash away a love or to reference how quickly the love was dissolved, rain is a common reference that is used, and is the case in this song.

Remember, do you remember back then?
The night it rained
When we cried all day?
Remember, do you remember afterwards?
The clear morning after the rain
We were in love but we let each other go

Wo (the night that disappeared with the rain) Yeah
Uh (the love that disappeared with the rain)

The piano is not determined to let go just yet. The instrument finds its way into Leo’s solo.  “Words to Say” or “할 말” officially slows the album down. Be convinced all the tracks up to this point are in a timeline. First the breakup, next are thoughts back on what could have been, and now, accepting the loss with all the words that should have been said during their time together but were not. It can be looked into deeper since in the video for “Beautiful Liar”, the main actress is seen giving Leo a wedding invitation. One of the lyrics highlight in “Words to Say”

I pretended not to see and closed my eyes
You were in love with someone else
But I just wanted you to stay by my side

If the plan was to get comfortable in the flow that’s been currently set, then Ravi will shock you out of it with his solo, “Ghost.” The time of being emotional is done. Now it is time to “shout out to all of your haters.” In my opinion, this track is composed well, but the lyrics are not filled with any content, making it feel empty. Not saying the lyrics do not have meaning, but there is not anything attention-grabbing. The record comes off as a generic diss track with lines like:

This is the opening ceremony.
For all you old-timers who treated me coldly, saying I don’t have enough fake enthusiasm.

Don’t judge me with your standards yeah

You all thought I was someone you could pick on
But in the end, your eyes glaze over and your ears are prickled up

Try to kill my mentality that fights and thirsts
You just talk a loud game and even though you go out every Friday night
Your results show that you have no audience in front of you

“My Light,” is a song written by Leo and Ravi, but all of VIXX gets in it. This track specifically is for their fan club, Starlights. It seems odd to release a group-related song on a sub-unit 20150828_seoulbeats_vixxlr_slider_leo_ravialbum, especially one that’s dedicated for your fans. A song as such would be better suited on the group’s album. And if you happened not to catch it, Ravi highlighted some of their previous releases such as “Rock Ur Body” and “Hyde”. See if you can catch them all.

“Beautiful Liar” is a great opening for the album and “My Light” is the perfect conclusion. There’s no need to rearrange the tracks to have them flow into one another. The album as a whole, generally, compliments Leo in that it is is not complied of fast-paced melodies. Because of this, Ravi’s solo seems highly misplaced. Note that the songs were either written or composed by Leo or Ravi, or both. Their hands were submerged within this entire album. To be able to write and compose all the songs for the unit and debut themselves within a three year span, that is no short achievement.

Album Rating: 4.5/5

(Jellyfish Entertainment, TwitterYouTube, Lyrics via Color Coded Lyrics)