As a seasoned artist with big hits like “I Fancy You” from his first full-length album Crush On You or a collaboration with SNSD‘s Taeyeon for “Don’t Forget” that swept the charts earlier this winter, Crush has been making not only his mark as an established name in the industry, but as a soul icon as well. Currently signed under Amoeba Culture, one of the most prominent soul and RnB productions in Korea, Crush is considered to be an iconic voice in this generation of RnB music. He’s only 24 and already on the top of his game. He is making his presence known, both with his collaborations with other artists and with his own songs.
Wanderlust opens with the smooth sound of a track of the same name, an intro with soulful vocals resonating throughout the whole track. Small guitar riffs and RnB influences are underscored with a perfect blend of vocals and music. The lyrics are scarce; however, the meaning behind them is easy and simple: the need to flee the city and roam the world with the loved one. The track is a nice intro to the album and predicts its overall style.
The second track brings us to Crush’s past, reminiscing about times he used to be a no name artist practicing in training rooms, getting there by bus “2411,” just like the name of the song. Accompanied by electric guitar, he sings about his past self- promising himself not to give up on his dreams and keep on striving for his best. The ending is bittersweet, as the memories are vanishing and the neighborhood already changed, reminding us of the passing time and growing up from just dreaming about our future and making it our present. It’s a somehow sad song, tinged with memories that once seemed so vivid, now fading into nothing. Crush’s voice is soft and at times turns into something akin to rap with a sharp enunciation of certain verses that freshen up the track. Otherwise, the singing is sweet and bears a lot of emotion throughout the whole song.
Next song called “Nostalgia” — or “Perfume” as the Korean title says — is another track overflowing with emotion. Yet another use of electric guitar, this time in a softer, jazzy sound, enables us to listen to the singer’s plea for his loved one not to feel lonely and worried, while his presence will soothe them throughout the night. The ballad marks the middle of this album, and is a perfect lullaby for listener’s ears, ending with string ensemble and piano underscoring the tone of the song. Overall, it’s a lovely and calming song suitable for night.
The title song, “Fall” (“How Are You Doing” in Korean), is yet another ballad that meshes soul with RnB a little more than previous songs. This time around, the singer is reminiscing about the person he is still in love with despite their break up. Even with all four seasons passing, he can’t forget his lover and misses them.
Cold winter, lethargic spring
sweltering summer, they all pass by
anyway, I’m doing well, no I’m not
my reality is
a brutal fall without you
Likening the lack of their presence in his life to a cold, cruel, and brutal Fall seems to enhance the empty place in his heart the person left. It’s a perfect love sick ballad that slowly grows on you with more listens, and is, therefore, a good choice for the title track. The MV takes us to the windy city streets where Crush roams with his lover on his mind. It’s the perfect autumn listen for anybody, be it a person in unrequited love or happily in love.
The last song “Like My Father” present’s Crush’s vocals solely with a piano in the background. The soulful ballad closes the album in a melancholic tune with a mellow voice that hits falsetto in a backhanded, easy way that speaks of the struggles of day to day life. This world feels like too much for Crush, who’s lacking the softness he was born with in his heart, and every day seems like a fight. Instead of hanging his head low, he reminisces about his father, and hopes he will be as strong as he was in his childhood memories.
This album is a piece of work filled with ear candy for anybody who likes soul or just feels like listening to a good ballad. As 1theK put it in their description of the album, Crush is trying to find his sound as an adult, trying to find his ideals stemming from the memories of his past or dreams about his future.
The use of instruments in this album is minimalistic and it doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment. In fact, it enhances Crush’s singing voice and its colour. I particularly enjoyed the fact this album didn’t have a mandatory fast song and kept its theme, which in turn made me interested until the end. I would, however, recommend listening to it a few times before having an opinion about it, since this is predominantly an atmospheric, ballad mini album that needs time to digest. Other than that, it’s a great album.
If you like what you heard from this artist so far and think there is no way to listen to the amazing voice of his live, there is a surprise in store for you. Crush has announced his first world tour that starts in Seoul early this November and continues in multiple cities in Europe and USA, like Paris, London, LA, New York, and many more. Be sure to check out the places near your home and support the artist that swept through the music industry like a storm.