The five members of SS501 have been doing a nice job of keeping their fans on their toes this year with one solo activity after another. Recently, Heo Young Saeng made his break into the scene with his solo mini album, "Let It Go." Tightly packed with four songs and one instrumental, "Let It Go" is a morsel of music that Heo Young Saeng is pushing as a tame club mix of beats and swift melodies. Since the summer is upon us and the music that accompanies it is prone to pounding bass and loud mixes, "Let It Go" tries to follow that very formula, almost giving us the expected K-pop trends before the trends begin. How did it fare? Check below to find out! - Track List: 01 Out The Club (Feat. Tae Wan) 02 Let It Go (Feat. ??) 03 Rainy Heart/?? ?? ??? ? ??? (Feat. ???) 04 I'm Broken 05 Let It Go (Inst.) - The album kicks off with "Out The Club", where we hear Heo Young Saeng putting the club-bystanders on blast, spitting the line "If you ain't gonna dance, getcho - out the club, getcho - out the club" in a very digitized voice. The song is flooded with whiny nuances, synths, digital claps, and all kinds of beeps and whistles. While it's very 'clubby', there are moments when it starts feeling disorganized. It builds up a nice amount of momentum, but the song looses its grip somewhere in the middle. It's a decent little number, but it's difficult to come out with a strong dance track of this caliber, especially when there's one that sounds a lot like it already in existence; i.e. "Breaka Shaka" by Kangta. They're not identical, but the vocal treatment, arrangement, and style is very much the same. I'll give Heo Young Saeng the win for better use of English, but his song could use a bit of refinement to really get things moving. - The title track and lead single, "Let It Go", quickly follows, bringing back all of those familiar SS501 sounds that fans have associated with the band. "Let It Go" doesn't feature a complicated composition, but it is as melodramatic and 'pretty' as any SS501 song. Although Heo Young Saeng's lead single pretty much falls into that exact category of 'redundancy' within K-pop, at this moment in time it's safe to say that there's something quite likable about this song. Be it the fact that it's reflective of all things Korean pop specifically, and perhaps that I find his glimmering voice easy on the ears personally - there are sections of "Let It Go" where everything comes together really well. Heo Young Saeng has the type of high voice that works with or without auto-tune. Vocal treatment isn't for everyone, but there are certainly those voices that sound awesome either way; Heo Young Saeng's voice is one of those, and we hear him in both kinds of processing from track one to track two. The only thing that tamper with my enjoyment of "Let It Go" is that it starts feeling like a giant loop by the midway point. There isn't enough variation or interesting elements in the instrumental to hold onto, but luckily Heo Young Saeng delivers tid bits of nice melodies to shake me out of my daze. One thing that can be said for "Let It Go", along with the chill follow-up track, "Rainy Heart", is that they could have both done without rap. "Rainy Heart" begins as an indie-esque tune that is too quick to jump into the shelter of swooping nuances and digital add ons provided by a pop production. Basically, it leads you to believe it's calm and subdued, but ends up heavier than anticipated, especially when an electric guitar is thrown into the mix. Heo Young Saeng has a great voice and he sings the entire song really well, but it frustrated me to hear the middle eight of "Rainy Heart" get sacrificed for a rap section that shouldn't have been there. There aren't that many moments in this EP where we get the opportunity to hear Heo Young Saeng's vocals in full bloom, and this middle eight could have been the perfect spot to unleash that one stunning climax. Unfortunately, it never happens. - "Let It Go" ends with "I'm Broken", and if there was a choice between this song and the lead single, I'd definitely go with this one. This song is hands-down the gem of the mini album. What Heo Young Saeng is singing and what is going on behind him in the instrumental blend together perfectly. It's almost freaky how Euro-pop this song is, especially since it's a part of an EP that follows the tendencies of Korean pop to a T. The production sounds like it was the one song that was handled by someone else as opposed to whoever worked on the others. The ambiance and classic use of synths embellish the melodies and Heo Young Saeng's voice rather than dripping over everything like slabs of mud. It's got kick and an actual build up to a part of the song where Heo Young Saeng releases that strong voice of his. I was scared they had slathered it with auto-tune (which they do), but no; he goes for it and it makes for a nice finale to this EP. - In truth, there are good moments on this EP, and in the end, Heo Young Saeng sang his little heart out, sounding absolutely fantastic while doing so. However, when a couple of his band mates have already released outstanding pieces of work, this mini album ends up falling just a tiny bit flat in comparison. This collection of songs starts off one way and ends another, and I would have liked the up-tempo tracks to be cleaner with a foofaraw of innovative twists and turns, but they remain just okay. As a vocalist, I have nothing to take away from Heo Young Saeng, as he still managed to bring that lovely voice of his to the mix. Honestly, I just felt the song fell short. Granted, for a first mini album as a solo artist, this is a valiant effort on his behalf and still worth tossing into the pile of SS501 songs already out this year. There's more there, it just hasn't been put into a solo release yet. --- Overall Rating: 3.6/5 ---- What are your thoughts on this mini album? — Suggestions for a future review? Hit the author up on Twitter (@rothsresidence) or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)! — Note: This article does not reflect the opinions of allkpop, only of the author.
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Posted byTuesday, May 24, 2011
[Review] 'Let It Go' by Heo Young Saeng of SS501
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