On July 20th, Seungri came back with his long-awaited third solo release. The Great Seungri is the album’s title and its lead single is the fun pop-rock song “1, 2, 3!”. After years of hinting at another music release of his, did Seungri manage to live up to expectations?

A group like Big Bang has some of the strongest and most influential personalities and artists of the k-pop scene teamed up together. Given how big of names his bandmates are, Seungri is in a tough spot. So far he played his cards the best way that he could: putting out two solid solo releases, pursuing a kind of music closer to his own taste, creating a persona the public fell in love with, and on top of that also successfully venturing into side businesses.

Seungri is famous for his party-loving persona and has also been active on the DJ-ing scene. So far this side of his artistry is the one he has explored the most, especially in tracks such as “What Can I Do?”, “Gotta Talk to U” or even “Where Are You From” from his latest album. While Seungri isn’t completely unfamiliar with the genre (let’s think about “GG Be”), the fact that he picked a light pop-rock song like “1, 2, 3!” as lead single is definitely an interesting choice.

The video starts off with Seungri noticing a girl he likes in a room — singer Anda. As she walks by he plays “1, 2, 3!” on a jukebox and builds up his confidence. Eventually he starts dancing with other dancers and Anda as well, even ending up on television. Sadly everything was just a daydream as Seungri clumsily lets Anda walk away.

Everything about “1, 2, 3!” is reminiscent of musicals. The most obvious tribute is to Grease, especially the scene where Seungri dances in a leather jacket with male dancers by vintage cars — of course in reference to “Greased Lightning”. Then there is a hint to La La Land when Seungri dances with Anda for the first time and another reference to Hairspray towards the end with everyone is dancing in the television studio.

Seungri himself is the real star of “1, 2, 3!”’s music video. The camera follows him around in long takes (despite the video not being a one-take) through different settings. Seungri stares directly into it and displays his signature self-confidence. Choreography takes up a great part of the music video; still, his dance moves are smooth and accurate. He is natural and at ease both dancing along with other dancers and paired with Anda.

Just like Grease, “1, 2, 3!”’s music video is set in the ‘50s. The vintage atmosphere influences wardrobe choices (especially for the ladies) and of course the video’s setting. The room with the jukebox where Seungri meets Anda and the television studio are especially reminiscent of the ‘50s. As Seungri performs the song’s bridge live on tv everything turns black and white, in line with how television was broadcast back then.

As previously mentioned, “1, 2, 3!” is a fun pop-rock song that marks the first collaboration between Seungri and YG Entertainment’s resident producer Teddy. Since Teddy is usually in charge of YG’s girl group productions, it is not surprising to hear that the song was originally destined for Black Pink and Rosé even sang a demo of it. While the song’s choruses end up sounding a little repetitive, the song is overall very catchy and matches Seungri very well.

Seungri might be considered Big Bang’s underdog, yet he actually managed to release three solo albums where he participated actively in the production. Five years have passed since we’ve heard Seungri’s solo music; in K-pop this is a considerable amount of time, and of course, Seungri had to bring something new to the table to draw attention to his latest solo work. With his album’s lead single, the choice of going for something other than what he already tried before happens to be a wise one.

What the public knows Seungri the best for is his big personality. He manages to play this to his own advantage: it’s easy to see how much fun he was having while shooting “1, 2, 3!” — outtakes have even been added to prove it. “1, 2, 3!” is definitely a pleasant song and paired with its brilliant music video, shows yet another side of Seungri. Or as he titled his own album, the great Seungri.

(YouTube, Images via YG Entertainment)