20150304_seoulbeats_seo in guk

One of the rising starlets to keep your eye on, singer-turned-actor Seo In-guk solidifies his presence with the release of his latest Japanese album. Amidst a busy year full of acting, Seo In-guk still found time to personally partake in producing this album, which showcases new tunes as well as his best songs from previous Japanese albums. Its heartening to see how Seo has overcome his personal issues with bulimia and has embarked on a journey into the Japanese music industry.

Already capturing our hearts with his emotional acting in Answer Me 1997 and his wacky adorable personality in High School King of Savvy, Seo croons his way back into the music scene. Packed with ballads and R&B tracks that exemplify his diversity as a singer, Last Song is a must have for all the Seo In-guk fans out there! Always exploring and experimenting with his sound (or his voice to be specific), this album promises a little something different.

The title track of the album, “Last Song” encapsulates a sad and mellow vibe as the title itself promises. Using strings and the piano helped contribute to lovely and slightly nostalgic tune that’ll have you swaying to the beat. The instrumentals are very well thought out and complemented Seo In-guk’s vocals exceptionally well. Written by Seo himself, “Last Song” is about parting with someone precious, and the emotions driving his words were eminent even for someone who doesn’t understand Japanese.

The beginning of the song where Seo was accompanied by just the piano and strings really allowed him to shine as a vocalist. During the chorus and buildup, I felt that Seo was being slightly overwhelmed by the medley of instruments as his voice is not powerful enough.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF3F1GbBy3E]

As if the song was not poignant enough, watch Seo channel his inner emotions out through his acting skills in his MV, starring three different sides of him – a brooding, gloomy Seo; a dashing, clean cut image of Seo in a suit, and the trademark cute cheeky grin in casual cardigan of him frolicking in the woods. His piercing gaze seemingly stares into your soul through the computer screen, and multiplies the emotional atmosphere by at least 10 times.

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Another ballad that used instrumentals really well, “Light of My Life” was a slightly faster song in comparison to the first. The opening tune was bittersweet and catchy, and this song better showcased Seo’s vocal range. The beat and snare was a tiny bit too repetitive and was a little bit distracting. Besides Japanese, Seo tries his hand in singing in English as well. Quite a chill song, “Light of My Life” grows on you the more you listen to it. Leaving you wanting more, this song puts a smile on your face with a feeling of satisfaction.

Next up was “Open Your Eyes”. A more upbeat and happier track, this song was the most Kpop-ish song released. Using more electronic beats and riffs, this song was certainly different and refreshing from the other two ballads. Constant jigs and funky notes from the guitar coupled with Seo’s unique voice made this a fun song to listen to. Seo In-guk’s experimentation with different sounds and rhythms is always something to look forward to as he is still looking for his trademark sound.

Another gem to check out is “Toxic Girl”. A super catchy song from his previous album, Everlasting, shows another side to him. It encapsulates the playful vibe that Seo is known for, yet allows him to show off his singing and rapping.

20150304_seoulbeats_seo in guk_2Overall, this album was a pleasant one, full of variety that showcases something different in each song. Seo’s personal touch in producing the album and writing the songs can be felt through the emotions behind the lyrics. At first listen, this album sounds like just any other Japanese album, but give it another go and you might find some gems to add to your playlist. Seo’s Japanese pronunciations are certainly flawless while he definitely needs to improve on his English pronunciations. Seo’s songs would fit as an OST for a drama. Maybe that’s another career sidetrack he might consider venturing into in the future.

Seo In-Guk is clearly more established as an actor and he has a long way to go as a singer despite winning Superstar K in 2009. This said, he certainly has potential as seen from his latest tracks and his diverse career in acting and singing. Seo just needs that one hit song or another drama to bump up his star power, and to break away from his character as Yoon Yoon-jae in Answer Me 1997. Hopefully, this won’t be his last song and I can’t wait for his next work, be it a new single or a new drama.

Overall Score: 3.5 out of 5

(Nippon Crown, Jellyfish Entertainment, Youtube)