"Cause we're Topp Dogg, Top Class!" The rowdy boys of K-Pop, Topp Dogg, are back with a more melancholic melody in "Rainy Day" off of their 1st full-length album 'First Street.' But don't think it is all tears and sorrow; 'First Street' will surprise you as the boys explore a brand new style, sound, and image!
Emotion (Glitch Mix)
Rainy Day (Inst.)
"Rainy Day" is a real twist to what the boys normally promote. The pop-ballad starts off with various funky horns tooting alongside echoing sounds in the background until it evolves into a live band-like instrumental (which isn't a common addition to most rap-inspired groups) that utilizes the electric guitar, piano and light drumming impressively.
Although their vocals are steady and soft there is an obvious Big Bang-esque in the manner of which they sing that I can't seem to shake off. The song is still original but clearly has its influences. See what I'm talking about in the MV below!
Being a little less rough and more tranquil compared to the rest of the album, the moody track "Rainy Day" describes a man drenched in the love of his past relationship. Lingering on and on in their emotions, Topp Dogg relate their lives and hearts to "a dry city that needs to be drenched in the rain" with the past love they seem to be unable to forget.
Coming off too cliche for my liking, I will give them props as the story and song collectively create a wonderful metaphor of love being like rain that is very endearing.
Although they have nice lyrics, their MV is another story. It comes off a bit bland and doesn't add much to the song. The MV simply follows the same route many artist have gone before with their melancholic demeanor. However, the MV did offer up some great moments that highlighted their sharp choreography for such a soft song.
Not only are their dance moves on point but also their style is topnotch, too! The boys mix together a trendy blend of rough, hip-hop-inspired fashion with leather jackets and even skirt-pants that could inspire any K-Pop lover's wardrobe in a heartbeat. Combined with their handsome features and emotional singing, the MV is enjoyable for fans of Topp Dogg but still remains simplistic altogether.
Their album 'First Street' keeps things lively as their track "Perfume" shakes things up with deep tones and randomize synthetic sounds such as bubble popping, horns and ad-libbing. "Perfume" stays trendy with a strong trap inspired instrumental that goes hand in hand with the rapper's voices.
While it isn't my favorite song on the album, and I still think they should have opened with something more powerful, the funky and fun "Perfume" is a good head-bobbing track that has a well-crafted tune that is easy on the ears rather than being overwhelming.
Topp Dogg blew me out of the water with "Sunshine," a preppy, feel good vibey track. It has a lot of soul as the instrumental features a great blend of sounds from organs, tambourines, a low bass and somewhat jazzy tune.
"Sunshine" lives up to its name as it is a song you can easily cruise down the street with in your car as the top comes down and you take in the lovely day! Topp Dogg easily show off their sweet sides with this cheery R&B track and I am hoping to see more of this side of them in the future for both their albums and promotions.
'First Street' continues to stay on top of the trends, which didn't surprise me, as Topp Dogg's song "I Mean" panders to the all-things-90s lover in all of us. Similar to SHINee's "1 of 1," the track creates a cool fusion of inspiration between 'Soul Train' and Michael Jackson's music style with a K-Pop twist, of course!
"I Mean" makes for a good dance track and has a zany instrumental that delivers an energetic impact on this album. It is likable without feeling too much like a carbon copy. If you're a music lover who is tired of the 90s influence appearing left and right, Topp Dogg are still filled with surprises on this album!
"Flower" has a more familiar sound that many fans can recognize from Topp Dogg. Their rapping is on point as always alongside a fun sound which incorporates an awesome tribal tune that utilizes light drumming, flute-like whistling and subtle snapping along an acoustic beat.
The instrumental maybe a bit tame compared to the rest of the album but it doesn't stop "Flower" from standing out and being a worthy listen.
Probably the most hilarious yet coolest track on the whole album, "Blind" really throws listeners off guard with its 100% different style. Without a doubt, "Blind" makes 'First Street' the masterpiece it is and easily wins over old and new fans alike.
The beginning opens up with a young boy saying, "Have you ever been bullied, humiliated and scared by someone bigger, stronger and older than you - older than you - older than you - older than you?" while suddenly cutting off and fading into a dial tone. Just as quickly as it fades away, the whistling instrumental starts up with whispery vocals that create a mystical atmosphere, and that is when Topp Dogg drop the trap bomb and kill it with their intense rapping.
The instrumental for "Blind" is playful and exciting as it bounces from heavy synthetic sounds to a strong EDM refrain. "Blind" has a wonderful way of transitioning from total chaos to a sudden calm state while maintaining a steady rap flow, which makes the song attention grabbing and a real winner out of all the songs.
'First Street' is filled with variety as the boys of Topp Dogg become as smooth as butter in their charming track "Good Morning." Filled with high-pitched "Oohs" and "Ahhs," "Good Morning" is easy on the ears and really melts hearts with its gentle piano melody and delightful mixture of electric guitars and deep bass strumming.
"Good Morning" is a great pick me up and highlights Topp Dogg's ability to sing a multitude of song genres. With a sweet-as-honey tune, the lyrics are also heartwarming as the boys sing of waking up next to their lover and enjoying their beautiful day together.
After being completely wowed by their previous tracks, Topp Dogg doesn't stop at delivering some wonderful tracks. "Emotion" is another fusion track that incorporates subtle autotuned vocals alongside a jazz inspired synthesized beat (which is a recurring theme for this album). Although it keeps to the uniformity of the album, "Emotion" isn't as intense or different like some of the previous songs on the album.
Despite that, it still adds some flavor to the overall style of their album.
To put things simply, 'First Street' is a well-thought out album! Containing a multitude of sounds, building up to their new image and being trend-savvy all around, 'First Street' is a great piece of ear candy. Topp Dogg have truly earned a spot in my heart and my playlist with their latest release "Rainy Day" and three of the songs off of this album.
While the group may be a little underrated, this underdog charm is what inspires Topp Dogg to create award winning music that can be found on 'First Street,' thus earning them a top score in this review! If you are in need of a happy virus during these winter blues, let Topp Dogg be your pick me up, or should I say "Sunshine?"