Roughly two years since his last EP release, the Superstar K singer-songwriter Yoo Seung-woo is finally back with a new EP entitled Pit a Pat which came out earlier this month. This time, he has collaborated with more artists such as K-indie artist OOHYO, rapper Crucial Star, and Louie who is one-half of the hip-hop duo, Geeks.
Fans of easy-listening Korean music know that when it comes to lounge-worthy jams to tune into, Urban Zakapa and 10cm are just some of the more popular go-to K-indie groups for your chill-out musical cravings. Over the years, the now 18 year-old Yoo Seung-woo has managed to put himself out there to earn a spot on anyone’s cafe playlist with his sweet, mellow tracks which he was very well able to showcase in his previous EP Already 19. However, with his newest EP, Seung-Woo was able to feature more of his growth and consistency as an artist as he highlights more of his uniquely boyish, acoustic flair.
Starting out with the title track “Whatever,” which has a recently released accompanying MV, it features rapper Crucial Star and is evidently more of an R&B style which immediately feels quite different from some of Seung-woo’s earlier, mellow and acoustic ballad songs. The golden moment of the intro to “Whatever” is the funky bass line which appropriately preps the listeners for a coffee shop feel that was only all the more complemented with the calming piano synths and Seung-woo’s maturing vocals kicking off the first verse.
For a moment, one could feel a sense of similarity between Seung-woo and hip-hop artist Zion. T, however the parallelism ends once the song ushers its listeners to the chorus which bears more of Seung-woo’s distinct upbeat, pop sound. As for Crucial Star’s contributions in the second verse and the bridge, his rap lines felt like the perfect balance to Seung-woo’s rich and airy vocal tone, a trait of Seung-woo’s that was consistent up until the end of the song and never once faltered or felt out of place.
The second track is a catchy love song entitled “Getting Like U” which definitely feels like the most Yoo Seung-woo-esque song of the entire EP. Its dominant acoustic guitar sound and the light and upbeat drums gives it a freshly bright and energetic vibe that perfectly matches the lyrics of falling in love. As a young artist, it’s always befitting of Seung-woo to opt for the semi-sappy love-at-first sight kind of song since it illustrates his youthful image hence, listening to “Getting Like U” was like a gentle reminder of his original artistry, that despite the R&B feel of “Whatever,” he’s still the same acoustic teeny-bopper that we’ve come to know and love.
One thing that’s definitely praise-worthy of this EP is its consistency and cohesiveness in the sound, as if every song is meant to really complement each other and give the listener an adequate amount of variation without being too disjointed. This is all the more emphasized in the song “LINE (45.7)” which feels like a subtle combination of “Whatever” and “Getting Like U.”
An adorable collaborative track with K-indie singer OOHYO (known for her ballad “Vineyard”), “LINE (45.7)” talks about the awkward first stages of a new relationship. The song is like a responsive-type song that goes back and forth from Seung-woo and OOHYO as if the two are lovers conversing about the “conditions and restrictions” of their new relationship, hence the title of the song that pertains to the ‘lines that should be drawn’ in case things get too uncomfortable.
The best moments of the song are definitely when Seung-woo and OOHYO harmonize during the chorus. To say that the two singers’ vocals complement each other would be a terrible understatement. One might even say that listening to “LINE (45.7)” would be similar to listening to an Akdong Musician track minus Chanhyuk’s signature rap lines.
Next up is “Twenty” which is more of a semi-jazzy, blues-y track about — you’ve guessed it — being twenty years-old. In South Korea, being twenty or being in your twenties is seen as more or less that moment of transitioning to adulthood as it is the age when most South Korean students enter college. True enough to the Korean ‘twenties stigma,’ Seung-Woo illustrates the essence of fleeting youth and innocence and the poignant nostalgia of a teenager’s memories from the past through the song’s lyrics.
Because of the song’s overall theme, it definitely sounds a lot heavier and more somber in terms of mood and feeling compared to the two previous tracks. In “Twenty,” Seung-woo transitions to more of a melancholic balladeer and holds nothing back in terms of his vocals. The instrumentals, on the other hand, does risk sounding a bit like it could be played as a background music at a fancy hotel lobby. It’s a good thing however that the acoustic guitar sounds and snazzy drum beat remain consistent throughout the entire song as they offset the more lush and classical pieces of the piano and the clarinet.
The last track on the EP is actually a bonus track and it’s Seung-woo’s single “You’re Beautiful.” The song has more or less gain quite the following considering how the corresponding music video was pretty star-studded and had quite the compelling narrative. Visuals aside, musically, “You’re Beautiful” takes us back to where this EP started — which is to a more R&B sound and style. Once again, Seung-woo gives off a bit of a Zion. T vibe with this song, but it’s only for a second since Seung-woo’s light and youthful crooner persona soon takes over during the refrain and chorus.
Lyrics-wise, “You’re Beautiful” is rather simplistic in nature and not at all novel in terms of what it’s trying to convey: a guy sees a — of course — beautiful girl that he likes and he falls in love with her. Simple as that. But just like “Getting Like U,” there is an air of charming boyishness about it that only a young acoustic artist like Seung-woo can pull off.
Beautiful girl, beautiful love
Under the sky that shines with dazzling sunlight
Out of all the things I’ve seen
You are the most beautiful
Because you are beautiful
On the other hand, Louie of hip hop duo Geeks added a sense of edginess to the song with his rap lines during the second verse and the last chorus of the song. While his rap style was able to adapt more or less to the song’s overall feel, compared to when Seung-woo teamed up with Crucial Star, Louie sounded a bit too harsh. Definitely if Seung-woo were to pair up with a rapper again in the future, it would seem like Crucial Star’s smoother rapping style is a lot more befitting of Seung-woo’s sound.
Pit a Pat as an EP is just another sign of Seung-woo’s growing maturity as a musician. While Already 19 managed to highlight Seung-woo’s evolving musical style, Pit a Pat was able to establish more of that by introducing hints of R&B and blues to his songs. The overarching vibe of Pit a Pat however is rooted on Seung-woo’s image as a crooner and throughout all five of his tracks, he was definitely able to showcase that with his sentimental and romantic singing. Having said that, it definitely won’t be long until we see Seung-woo competing for the coffee-shop-playlist-worthy title against Urban Zakapa and 10cm. On that note, Pit a Pat certainly deserves a good ‘ol pat on the back for elevating Seung-woo’s musical flair.